Top 3 Yoga Strap Uses to Grow Your Practice

It’s time to grow your practice with the yoga strap! It is perhaps the least utilized yoga prop, even though it arguably offers the most versatility in supporting the growth of your daily practice, and can be used in basically all poses. It can provide flexibility, stability, or resistance, depending on what’s needed in the moment. Many yogis simply forget about the yoga strap unless the instructor specifically cues it, and because the yoga strap is undoubtedly under-rated and under-utilized, we’d like to shine a spotlight on just a few of the boundless possibilities and benefits this tool can bring to your yoga practice. 

Uses for your yoga strap

A yoga strap is an invaluable prop that can be used to modify yoga poses to prevent injury or increase the scope of exploration, in order to evolve your overall practice. It offers the seemingly opposing options of greater range of motion for depth and flexibility AND stability and support for safe alignment.

There are truly countless ways to utilize a yoga strap in order to adjust a pose for you and your body’s needs, but here are just a few examples:

1. Increase mobility and flexibility

One of the main purposes of a yoga strap is to assist in lengthening muscles and improving flexibility. It gives you room to start where you are personally, and move at your own pace.

  • Reclined Bound Angle Pose, or Supta Baddha Konasana:

Start in a seated position with your knees bent and the soles of your feet together. Create a big loop by wrapping the strap around your sacrum (the low back), then around and under your feet, and securing the buckle. Gently recline back toward the mat (or even better, onto a bolster), and hold the pose for several breaths.

The strap will allow you to adjust the depth of the stretch, following your comfort level. The extra support allows you to relax into a deeper stretch for your hips and inner thighs.

2. Offer resistance and support

Using a strap can be especially helpful to provide leverage and support while allowing you to ease gently and safely into and out of a pose.

  • Seated Forward Fold, or Pashchimottanasana:

Begin by sitting with your legs close(ish) together, straight in front of you. Take your strap and loop it around the balls of your feet, holding onto the ends with both hands and keeping the strap taut. Inhale to lengthen your spine upward and exhale into the fold, by hinging forward at the hips, keeping your spine long and your shoulders relaxed away from your ears. Use the strap as leverage to hold yourself comfortably in place, taking deep breaths.

The strap provides the necessary resistance that frees you to gradually sink into a pose and hold it for a longer amount of time, as opposed to rounding the spine in an effort to grip your toes. Whether or not you grasp your toes is not important, the “goal” in this pose is to lengthen the posterior body (legs, glutes, and back).

3. Find stability and alignment

A yoga strap can give you more control by holding your body in place, by keeping your limbs at a fixed distance in order to maintain proper alignment and prevent injury.

  • Dolphin Pose, or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

Oftentimes in inversions, if shoulder strength is low, the elbows will want to splay out to compensate. To avoid this, wrap the strap around the upper arms, looping through the D-buckle, and adjust the size to keep elbows in direct alignment with shoulders and avoid injury. Clasp your hands or place them flat on the mat, slowly lift your knees, dropping your head between your biceps, and as you feel open and comfortable, walk your feet toward your elbows, allowing your heels to lower toward the mat. Hold for several deep breaths, and then slowly lower back down, bring the knees to the mat, and gently release the loop of the strap from your arms.

What to look for in a good yoga strap

Because yoga straps are often used to bridge gaps in muscle strength and flexibility, choosing the right one for your needs and goals is key.

Length and width

Yoga straps usually come in lengths of 6 feet, 8 feet, or 10 feet.

A shorter strap can be easier to handle and maneuver, which is ideal for poses that require quick adjustments or transitions. On the other hand, a longer strap can offer more leverage and versatility. The extra length can become unwieldy though, so finding a balance between the two is key here (as in everything!) 

For most yogis, the 6 feet strap is perfectly fine and will meet their needs, while tall yogis may prefer the 8 or 10 feet options. Wider belts are often more comfortable for those with longer arms and bigger hands. 

Material and style

Yoga straps are generally made of cotton, hemp, or nylon. They come in a variety of styles—for example, multi-loops, D-ring buckle, and multi-tasking straps that also serve as a yoga mat sling.

We tend to prefer the functionality of the D-ring buckle yoga strap style, as it is the most versatile, comfortable, and sturdy. It’s easy to adjust and can be used to create a loop by cinching the strap in place during slower practices, like our ZEN classes, where poses are held for several breaths. Or you can leave the strap open in order to be able to transition quickly and easily during a quicker-paced practice, like our POWER classes.

Of course, whatever you have on hand at home (a robe belt, a pants belt, a rope, etc.) is perfectly fine, and definitely better than no yoga strap at all!

Bonus: Wrap and carry your mat using a D-ring buckle strap

If you don’t already have a carrying bag or strap for your yoga mat, or if you’re on-the-go and into the idea of a two-fer, use your yoga strap to keep your mat neatly rolled and ready to carry!

Grow your practice with a yoga strap

The key strength of the yoga strap is the space it allows—mental and physical. It gives you the space to observe your body and be patient with its limitations. Sometimes we can be tempted to overstretch or jam ourselves into a posture, as opposed to accepting ourselves as we are in this moment. Remember to modify the pose to fit your body—not vice-versa.

Yoga straps also give us the space and the freedom to give it our all, with full trust that the strap will be there to support us and keep us physically stable and in proper alignment.

The possibilities are basically endless. Our Ignite Yoga instructors often cue this useful prop in class but feel free to incorporate a yoga strap at any time to explore the myriad benefits available and deepen your yoga practice.

About the Author

Justina Sanford

Justina Sanford

Justina is the owner of Ignite Yoga in Dayton, Ohio and 500 E-RYT yoga instructor. She's been teaching yoga for 15 years utilizing various yoga methodologies and has a passion for nudging people to discover what they're capable of, both on and off the mat. Justina loves to facilitate powerful experiences that often include dharma talks (life talks), breathing practices, visionwork, journaling, music, meditation, and sometimes even some unconventional methods. Justina is a former Music Therapist that has discovered a passion for entrepreneurship and helping people succeed. When she's not teaching classes, she's coaching and mentoring her staff or working to improve Ignite Yoga for students and teachers alike. Outside of small business ownership, Justina loves nature, fitness, cooking, culture, singing, and learning. Alongside her husband Chris, they take care of their three rescue dogs and travel often for outdoor adventures.

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