Yoga straps are excellent tools for yogis of all levels. They work to increase flexibility in certain poses, correct alignment, and serve as modifications for those with shoulder or back injuries. They are typically 6 to 9 feet long with a loop enclosure to adjust the length. They are most often made of a thick cotton or hemp material. Most studios will already carry straps, and other props like yoga blocks, rollers, or pillows. Here are a few of the most widely practiced yoga strap exercises and poses.
In this pose, start out by lying on the ground on your back with both legs rooted firmly to the ground. Lift the left leg up, bending at the knee and hold the strap around the ball of the foot. Push against the strap while pulling with your feet to bring your leg out straight and all the way to the left. Switch and repeat the same exercises with the other leg. The use of the strap increases the stretch in the groin, hamstrings, and hips.
With the use of a yoga strap, you can really improve your alignment in this asana, which is vital to most yoga practices. Start by positioning yourself in a traditional downward facing dog and then ask your instructor to fasten a yoga strap around your arms just above the elbows. Focus on creating resistance, pushing outward on the strap to bring your inner shoulder blades outward.
If your shoulders are tight or have recently recovered from back surgery, try using these yoga strap exercises while completing the cow pose. After setting up the lower half of your body for the pose, bring your right arm out, palm facing down and holding the yoga strap. While exhaling, bend the arm back and turn it inward so that it is turned down your back. Consequently, the yoga strap will dangle down your back. Inhale. On another exhale bend your left arm, turning it inward to reach the strap dangling down your back. Simultaneously pull on the band in opposite directions. The modification of the yoga strap exercises the shoulders and back without causing additional strain.
In addition to these, yoga straps can also be used for Reclining Big Toe Pose, Bridge Pose, or Boat Pose. Before beginning yoga strap exercises, it is always best to get a quick tutorial from your instructor. Ask them to show you how to adjust it properly depending on the pose.