Why and How To Use: Yoga Straps

Posted on September 13, 2018

No matter your level of experience, a yoga strap (or belt) can be useful for your practice. They aid you in reaching difficult poses, and over time will help you increase your flexibility and alignment. Their benefits include:

  • Provide support and form alignment
    Straps are lifesavers for people with tight hamstrings and shoulders. A strap can safely achieve poses previously inaccessible. You’ll find yourself getting into a deeper stretch, without compromising your form.
  • Improve posture.
    Use the strap to address your tight areas. Help yourself to stop reaching into poses, tensing your shoulders and rounding your back—big no-nos. Or strap yourself in to restorative poses like Goddess and feel your lower back release.
  • Get an incredible stretch
    Stretching becomes more effective and enjoyable when a strap is involved.

There are countless ways to use the strap for your advantage. In seated poses, yoga straps can be used around the feet to hold poses, especially for those with tight hips. In standing poses where balance is key, the strap can also be looped around your foot to increase your flexibility without losing your form. Yoga straps can also be great to get a more intense stretch for your shoulders and chest (see cow face pose below). Lastly, for arm balance poses like downward dog, the strap can be used to keep your elbows from going out.

Make sure you have a strap long enough to play with and start exploring different ways to make it a part of your personal practice. And remember, do not pull your way into postures with force. Always listen to your body!

Here are some of our favorite stretches and poses for the Yoga Strap.

Dancer's Pose
Dancer's Pose with Ellie Yoga Strap

Make a loop on the end of the strap, and place your foot in the loop. Stand close to a wall for safety and bring your hands up while holding the other end of the strap, pointing the elbows toward the sky. Press onto the strap and start walking your hands along the strap, making it shorter.

Cow Face Pose
 Cow Face Pose with Ellie Active Yoga Strap

If your shoulders are tight, the full extension of this pose can prove challenging for your arms. Try holding on to the strap with both hands to stretch your way into the final pose. Eventually, inch by inch with practice, your hands should be able to clasp on their own.

Pigeon with Quad Release or One-Legged King Pigeon
Quad Stretch and Pigeon Poses with Ellie Yoga Strap

Get ready to stretch your quads! For this pose, make a smaller loop with the strap and hook the top of your foot.Take the long end of the strap over your shoulder. To go deeper in this pose, requires not only openness in the chest, shoulders, and hips, but also flexibility in the back. To touch your toe with your hands, requires practice. Slowly work your way down the strap until one day you’re able to safely hold your foot. Or even have your foot touch your head (wow)!

Seated Forward Bend or Head-to-Knee Pose
Seated Forward Bends with Ellie Yoga Strap

As you may have noticed, it’s not actually natural to sit with your legs straight in front of you, no matter how bendy you are. Practicing stretches with a yoga strap can help. Sit on the floor with one or both feet on the floor straight in front of you. Make a loop on the strap and place it around the ball of your foot(feet). Hold onto the strap and use it to help you bring your spine to upright. Then, slowly lower yourself toward the extended leg--keep the strap taught as you bend forward. Remember, don’t force yourself!

 

Concerned stretching out with a yoga strap will feel uncomfortable on your hands? Try yoga gloves for added, no-slip comfort!

Yoga gloves from Ellie activewear

 

Both a yoga strap and yoga gloves are included in the September 5-piece Ellie box. Check it out today!