In modern yoga practices there are various things that help or enhance the yoga workout such as blocks, wedges, pillows, bolsters and straps; they are often called yoga props, and their main goal is to help a beginner to achieve and maintain the proper alignment in an asana or yoga pose.
It is known that such “yoga tools” were introduces by B.K.S. Iyengar, who originally was practicing a dynamic style of yoga derived on the basis of an ancient script “Yoga Korunta” by his teacher Krishnamacharya. Later Iyengar has changed his methods toward a static practice of yoga, which made it accessible for people with poor physical state; these yoga props were introduced to help people start doing yoga postures properly, faster and with less effort than it was usually required.
A notice from the editor: I would personally recommend you as a beginner to do your yoga routine both with strap and without it. Why? Well, straps will help you to achieve the right posture, but keep in mind that yoga is all about the natural balance in bodily forces, so it is very beneficial to have the experience of doing your yoga practice without straps or other yoga props.
What Is A Yoga Strap?
Yoga straps look similar to common belts; they are woven tightly and have an adjustable buckle at one end. The most common materials of these straps are hemp or cotton – they are natural and durable. The texture of the strap must be smooth enough to prevent any possible injury of your hands or feet, since there might be some rubbing of the strap against your skin during the asana performance.
The common length of a yoga strap is between six to eight feet; they are actually versatile and can be used not for yoga only but for other practices and trainings that require stretching and accepting difficult poses.
What Is The Purpose Of Yoga Straps?
The purpose of a yoga strap is to help you achieve the correct yoga posture with less effort and in a faster time frame. It is achieved by artificially “lengthen” your arms or legs. But please keep in mind that at some point of your practice you should give up the strap usage and perform yoga asana relying on your own body and its muscle balance. Yoga straps and blocks can be very helpful in the beginning, but as you become more experienced, try to do more yoga poses without straps or other yoga props.
The Most Common Uses Of Yoga Straps
- Stretching poses: if you cannot reach your feet in standing forward bend or in sitting forward bend pose, you can use the strap to help you maintain your spine straight and aligned.
- Twisting asanas also require keeping your spine in the proper alignment to avoid injure, and straps can be helpful here.
- Straps are good for working with ‘difficult’ areas such as shoulders and the upper back.
How To Use Yoga Straps In Your Yoga Routine
- One of the common standing poses is padahastasana or standing forward bend; if you cannot reach your toes, take a strap and wrap it over your toes, holding the ends in your hands pull it with your hands, gently stretching your back – thus you will make sure your spine is properly aligned and the pose is done correctly, despite the fact that you yet cannot reach your toes with your fingers.
- The sitting forward bend pose named paschimottanasana, where you need to reach your toes with your fingers while sitting on the floor. It is a difficult pose for beginners, but with the help of a yoga strap you can manage to have your spine aligned correctly in this posture even without being able to touch your toes.
- Ardha matsyendrasana or a sitting twisting pose requires your spine to be maintained in a straight position and it is very crucial to avoid any injury; but when you start doing the asana, it is very difficult to impossible to achieve such state of the spine, so the strap can help you – just wrap it around your knee and pull gently while twisting, and keeping your back straight.
These are just the examples; I guess, you will be able to see many more of the yoga strap uses in a yoga school or on a yoga DVD.
How To Choose A Yoga Strap?
Nothing difficult here: just look at it, make sure it is made of a natural material, it is smooth and durable. Pay your attention to how lengthy and adjustable it is to suit your needs. As simple as that.
I hope you got the idea of how to use yoga straps. Have a safe and effective yoga routine!