Yoga is for everyone. There are no prerequisites to stepping your foot into the beautiful world of yoga. You can be young, old, fit or plus size. All you need is a mat to create a safe space, adequate clothes, and you are ready.
The beauty of yoga is that it does not limit you, rather allows you to get creative by using props and accessories. One of the most basic ones is a yoga strap. Don’t hold yourself back if you don’t know what is a yoga strap. Let us tell you all about this magical prop, trust us they can come in handy for all levels, not only for first-timers.
What Is a Yoga Strap?
A yoga strap, also known as a yoga belt, is a simple, lightweight prop used during yoga practice to increase flexibility, stabilize joints, and create space in your body. The most common question asked is if a yoga strap is the same as a resistance band. The answer is no. A yoga strap has no resistance at all. And there is a reason for it.
Simply put, Yoga straps are designed to “allow” your body to move in deeper motions. A resistance band resists it. They are also made of different materials. Yoga straps are mostly made of non-elastic cotton, or nylon.
As mentioned, yoga straps are used to deepen and lengthen your postures. A regular strap is usually six feet (approx. 183cm), but there are longer ones available if you have longer legs or torsos (eight feet to 10 feet or 243 cm to 304cm). The straps are built with a buckle to support your poses, and help you with your grip if you are a beginner.
In the amazing world of yoga, there are endless choices and opportunities. This can be your first step towards a better experience enhancing your body flow.
Why Do You Need a Yoga Strap?
As a beginner, this can be a super handy tool for safer and more deeper stretches. Using a yoga strap will let you access poses that were impossible before. Your body might feel stiff today, but soon you will get a feeling of how a certain pose should feel, and oh the joy! This is not just for beginners; many instructors recommend using a yoga strap for advanced practice for a more enjoyable experience.
Yoga straps can truly help if you are focused on flexibility. If you are already bendy, don’t disregard the power of this versatile accessory. Read on to find out about some of the benefits.
Many of us often struggle with getting our neck and back accurately aligned. This is where yoga strap use is encouraged. It helps tremendously with healthy alignment, giving your limbs extra length and helping to avoid bad posture. The extra stretch will feel a lot better too.
You will know what you have been missing once you put your hands on one. If you have tight hamstrings, which is common nowadays, yoga strap exercises can help you release all that tension.
Have you been dreaming about mastering a new pose? Wondering why your toe won’t touch your head in king pigeon pose? Yoga straps are known to be great for beginners, but they can also do wonders in achieving a pose you have been working on for years.
How to Use Yoga Straps
As mentioned earlier, yoga straps have unlimited ways to improve alignment, length, and flexibility. For first timers, you always have the option of looking it up on google by typing how to use yoga straps. You’ll be flooded with information, with demonstrative pictures. They can be used in almost all regular yoga poses, but there are some poses known specifically as yoga strap exercises. For beginners, sticking to basic flexibility moves is a safer choice, as lengthening your muscles excessively can cause injury.
Yoga Poses with a Strap
There are so many yoga poses that can be executed with a strap. The list can be unlimited, but here are a few basic ones.
Ardha chandrasana (Sideways Stretch)
This is the simplest form of yoga strap use. A common pose for stretching your arms, shoulders, and sides. The side stretch is also a great way to warm up for your practice. The purpose of this stretch is to open up the shoulders and sides of your body.
Opening the Shoulders
There are a few effective ways to open the shoulders and arms. Some of the many asanas that focus on stretching your shoulders for example are upward salute and mountain pose.
Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
This is the most basic pose you want to begin your practice with. It does seem easy, but to get the right results in opening up your shoulder, you need to focus on your balance and breathe through.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
This is a favorite foundation pose for beginners. You must pay extra attention to make your motions smoothe. Don’t apply too much force; just sway slowly and comfortably.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
This pose with yoga straps focuses on hamstrings. Gently place the strap around your feet and slowly stretch your legs, feeling the pressure on your hamstrings.
Supta padangusthasana (Reclining Leg Stretch)
This is a lying pose. Start by lifting one leg and putting the strap on your foot. Gently lift your foot upwards, focusing on straightening your legs. Place your elbows on the floor, supporting your shoulders.
How to Choose the Right Yoga Strap for You
If you have tried one before, you already know your preference. But if you are new at this, you are probably wondering what size yoga strap do I need? The variation of sizes and types available in stores might baffle you. Well, we are going to narrow it down for you.
A great quality yoga strap will be soft, durable, and have a good grip.
Size and length should be given priority. The strap length should be enough to extend your arms comfortably and easily. This is a great way to test the quality of it. You should keep in mind that you might want to advance your practice in the future, so pay extra attention to the “room” it offers.
Yoga straps usually come in cotton, nylon, or hemp. Choose a material that is not too harsh on your skin. For example, cotton is easier to maintain but may be too rough for your hands.
Wait, there’s more! Find out about the types of Yoga Straps.
No Rings or Buckle
For first-timers, a yoga strap is almost like a helping hand. It is designed to give you the right kind of support for yoga poses. It is common for you to feel shaky, but overtime yoga straps encourage you to become more independent on your mat. The no ring or buckle strap in particular will give a smooth experience, eliminating uneasiness. They are really easy to handle. Your yoga practice is all about enjoying yourself, and this particular strap compliments your purpose. You will not be worried about adjusting it during your transitions. We recommend you to find a comfortable way to hold them, or maybe just play with it a little beforehand, to have the best time with each other during your practice.
If you are more confident with your balance, a cinch buckle is more suitable for you. This one is lightweight, and is great for advanced pressure. A cinch buckle is anti-slip and built tightly with woven strands of cotton to help with your flexibility. It can also be used using one hand, giving you adequate support without interfering with your pose.
These straps are a popular choice amongst taller yogis, as they have the extra length. Not only for taller people, they hold up the shifts between poses smoothly. They are also a great guidance tool. Those hard poses that once seemed difficult will seem easier and safe with the help of D-Ring straps.
These come in plastic buckles making it easily adjustable for fast and easy shifts. Again, this is cotton-texture, anti-slip strap is a great choice for balancing with using one hand, for advanced poses. It gives you reassurance of your safety when you hear the “click” sound when both ends lock together.
Yes, all of these yoga straps are durable. And you know what makes them even better? Easy-maintenance! They are super easy to clean. Most of these cotton straps can be washed in cold water. You have the option of soaking them in a bucket of water mixed with detergent overnight to get them cleaned thoroughly. They are washing machine friendly as well. So, don’t forget to wash them to keep reusing for infinite times.
There are countless options and choices to the benefits and uses of yoga straps. Make sure you choose one that makes your practice more enjoyable. A great yoga strap will welcome you to the world of yoga, like never before.
It doesn’t matter if you are not able to achieve a certain pose right now. Using a yoga strap will allow you to advance at a pace you are comfortable with, no matter what level you are currently on.