Yoga straps or yoga belts are one among the best props you can utilize to enhance the quality of your yoga practice. These props do wonders when it comes to postures like Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana where people find it difficult to extend the leg completely due to tight hamstrings. Yoga straps allow you to indulge in such poses without compromising on their benefits. Meanwhile, you could also use straps to deepen certain postures like Natarajasana. Let’s talk about how to use yoga straps and yoga belts the right ways!
How to use Yoga Straps?
To extend your limbs
As I mentioned above, people with tight hamstrings and hip find it difficult to extend their leg completely in poses like Uttitha Hasta Padaangushtasana. Those who have a weak core or knee issues also could face this trouble. In such cases, you could just bind your extending feet using the strap. The belt gives you an opportunity to keep your legs straight without worsening your injury, at the same providing with all the benefits.
Deepening your twists
The benefits of yoga twists make them irresistibly tempting. But any feeling of tightness could turn twists into nightmares. In reclining twists such as Jathara Parivartanasana, you can use the yoga strap to bind your thighs, so that your core remains engaged and thighs and knees do not separate while you move your knees up and down.
In poses like Bharadwajasana, you can use the strap between your hands to open your shoulders deeper.
Help you bind
Binding postures unblock your energy channels and make your body flexible and supple. But binding could become a challenge if you are not flexible or if you have large thighs. In such cases, you could use yoga straps for binding.
People with shoulder injuries can use straps to keep the injured area safe, yet enjoy the benefits of the practice.
Forward bends with straps
A shorter torso is a challenge when it comes to forward bends such as Pada Hastasana and Paschimottanasana. Keeping your spine erect and holding your foot with straight elbows is something that needs a good dose of flexibility. In such cases, binding the feet with the yoga strap and holding it in your hand gives you an opportunity to work on the posture in a better manner. Additional benefit – your neck and spine will thank you!
Here are few poses that will give you an insight into how you can use yoga straps.
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Extended Hand To Toe Pose
This balancing posture opens your hips, tones your abdomen, and strengthens your leg.
Stand upright with your feet together. Relax your body. Fix you gaze at a point, inhale, and hug your right knee to the chest. Wrap the strap around the right foot and hold the strap with your right palm. Let the left hand rest on your waist. Exhale and straighten your right leg in front of you. Ensure that your elbows are straight. If the elbows are not straight, twist the strap to shorten them and straighten your elbows.
Keeping the spine straight, press the left foot firmly into the floor. Pull the left kneecap up and engage the thigh muscles and core. Keep breathing and hold the posture for five deep breaths.
With the final exhalation, hug the right leg to the chest. Remove the strap, release the foot, and come back to initial position. Repeat the same with left side.
Tip: You can practice Parsva Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana the same.
Naukasana – Boat Pose
People love Navasana or Naukasana for its core strengthening and toning benefits. But a bad back or torn rectus abdominis could hamper your practice. And, that’s where a yoga strap helps.
Lie on your back on the mat. Relax your shoulder and rest your arms on either side of your body. Bend your knees, feet resting on the mat. Wrap the strap around your feet, holding the strap with both your palms. Inhale and lift the feet from the mat. As you exhale, straighten your leg and engage your core. Keep your arms straight. If they are not straight, twist the strap and straighten your arms.
Take a deep inhalation and lift the torso and head from the mat, allowing your body to come into a V. Relax your head, neck, and shoulders. Engaging your core muscles and keeping your legs and hand active, hold the posture for seven deep breaths.
Exhale and release the feet down. Remove the strap. Recline on your back and relax.
Ananda Balasana – Happy Baby Pose
Have you seen how easily babies hold their toes while lying down on their back? Looks simple, right? Tight hips, sore back, and inflexible hamstrings make the pose tough for adults. While you can achieve the benefits of the posture by keeping the knees bent, a yoga strap will help you straighten your legs completely. And, when your legs are straight, your hips release the tension in a better way!
Lie on your back on the mat, arms resting on either side of the body, palms facing the floor. Inhale and hug your knees to your chest. Bring your knees close to your armpits. Loop a strap around the middle of the feet and hold the straps with your hands.
Inhale and straighten your legs, allowing your shins to come perpendicular to the mat. Let the soles of your feet point to the ceiling, toes flexed towards you. Keep your lower back on the floor and relax your shoulders. Engage the thighs and hold the posture for seven deep breaths.
Exhale and bend your knees. Remove the strap and gently stretch your legs out.
Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
Holding the ankles of the bent knee with the hands could create a pressure on knees and compress your lumbar spine. That is where you could take the help of yoga strap. .
Lie down on your abdomen, forehead resting on the mat, and arms resting on either side of the body. Separate your knees as wide as your hips. Bend your knees and bring the soles close to your buttocks. Wrap your strap around your shins and hold the strap firmly. Keep your feet close to each other.
Inhale and pull the strap to lift your legs from the mat. Simultaneously, lift your head and torso from the mat and balance on your lower abdomen.
Pull the strap towards your head allowing the feet to come as close as possible to the head. Hold the pose for seven deep breaths.
Exhale and slowly remove the yoga strap and release the legs.
Gomukhasana – Cow Face Pose
Open your shoulders with this posture without straining your neck using yoga straps.
Sit down on the floor, spine straight, legs stretched out. Bend your left knee and allow the left heel to rest close to your right buttock. Bend your right leg and stack the right knee above the left one. Stretch your left arm sideways and rest it on your back, elbow facing the floor. Hold the strap in your right hand. Stretch your right arm over the head and fold it over the back, palms resting on your upper back.
Engaging your core muscles. Hold the strap using your left hand and pull the belt in opposite directions to feel the stretch. Twist and hold the strap to keep your elbows straight. Keep the spine erect. Breathing deeply, hold the pose for seven deep breaths.
Exhale and slowly release the belt. Inhaling and then exhaling, relax and come back to initial position. Repeat on your left.
Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide-Legged Forward Bend With Arms Lifted
When normally done, you interlace your fingers, join the palms, and lift your arms over your head as you bend forward. But, as with Gomukhasana, stiff and inflexible shoulders or locked elbows prevent you from indulging in the posture. You can hold yoga strap and bend forward, allowing your shoulders to straighten.
Stand with your feet separated slightly wider than your hips. Inhale and bend backward. Hold a strap using both your palms. Stretch the strap to pull your arms down and open your shoulders. Engage the core, and as you exhale, fold forward from your hips.
Simultaneously, lift your arms over your head, keeping the elbows straight. Push your hips backward and lengthen your spine. With each exhalation, deepen your forward bend till the crown of your head rests completely on the floor.
Hold the posture for seven deep breaths. Inhale, release the strap, and rest the palms on your waist. Take a short exhalation, and on the next inhalation, slowly straighten your torso.
Baddha Konasana – Butterfly Pose – Bound Angle Pose
Use yoga strap in this pose to relax your tight hips, tone the thighs and hips. It elongates and stretches your spine and back also.
Sit with your spine erect and rest the palms on either side of your hips, legs extended out to the front. Bend your knees and join the soles of your feet. Let your feet be at a comfortable distance from the body, heels moving towards your groin. Loop the belt with the buckle, pull tightly, and cross it over the hip bones to lock around the outer edges of the other feet.
Looping the strap in this manner will keep the spine erect for a longer period and thus, allowing you hold the posture longer. Keeping the spine straight, press the knees close to the floor. The ideal level would be until you experience that tingle in your inner thighs.
Place your forearms on the floor and start reclining. Gently lie down on your back and rest your arms over your head, keeping your forearms perpendicular to the shoulders. Hold the pose for seven deep breaths. Exhale and come out the pose.
Release the belt and stretch out your legs.
Now that you know how to use yoga straps, try experimenting with them to enjoy a deeper practice.