The most obvious way to perfect your practice is with a yoga strap. The yoga strap is a simple elastic band that provides the extra stability and flexibility. When your muscles and tendons fail to provide the required strength and coordination to execute a pose, a yoga strap is useful. The benefits of intelligently using a yoga strap cannot be underestimated, and there are hundreds of yoga strap exercises to practice. While there are some schools of yoga who advocate using no props at all, this is simple, not appropriate in the modern era. People do not have the luxury of spending 8 hours a day practicing various kinds of Yoga. Some do, but you typically won’t find them in typical urban dwellings or working a 9-5 job.
A prop is an item that “props” you up or assists you in executing a pose. Consider that many yogis and yoginis get stuck for years on mastering some types of poses. Might it be a good idea to use a prop to assist with this?
The fact is that if you don’t have a prop such as yoga strap, you may not be able to execute a pose. One example is Utthita Parsvasahita. Men, in particular, find this pose next to impossible when starting out, as their hip flexors and thighs do not have the range of motion to execute and hold the pose, usually resulting in a failure to execute or an imbalance leading to a fall. One of the ways around this is with a yoga strap for extra support.
More Benefits of Using a Yoga Strap
But it is not just a case of execute-not execute a yoga pose. Straps are needed and used primarily to deepen poses, and some poses are suited to using straps. Poses involving spinal twists or requiring balance avail extensively of yoga straps, particularly the seated spinal twists where it is very difficult to twist further without external pressure. This pressure can be provided with a strap or with the help of an instructor. Teachers also use straps to straighten out some very strange and incorrectly executed downward facing dog positions.
The benefits of a yoga strap do not stop at helping people with injuries or stiffness to go further in their poses, nor to help people execute a twist or a standing pose. What you can do with a strap, or indeed with any prop, is limited only by the creativity of the individual in question. Many believe that yoga is to be executed in an exact sequence to obtain maximum benefits. And while this may be somewhat true, the human body is flexible is so many different directions. There really is no limit to what can be done with a yoga strap. Expert practitioners can deepen their practice by using a yoga strap to either add extra resistance or to stretch their bodies in ways that they have never been stretched before.
There are no limits to human performance and a strap can be the modern yoginis best friend. They can be an invaluable assistant when you are in your own home with no teacher or partner at hand. Yoga strap stretching is on the rise along with yoga in general. People know that yoga strap stretching will benefit their practice tremendously.
Finding the Best Yoga Strap
If you now believe that a yoga strap can help with your sadhana, then the next step is finding the best yoga strap. The best yoga straps obviously have to be durable, lightweight and affordable. Their material is generally of nylon or cotton. Yoga straps can be a few feet of much longer. We recommend you to have a short one as there is no need for the length, which can be a pain. Some can have various types of cinches, such as Metal D Rings or plastic. Yoga straps can be as cheap as $5, but it might be a good idea to invest the extra $10 in something that should last you for a couple of years and choose from the best yoga straps on offer.
But any yogi worth his cotton socks knows that it is not the price or quality of an item. It is how much you care for it and how much attention you give it. The value of any piece of equipment is a function of what you give it with your thoughts and focus. If you fail to take care of your equipment and value it appropriately it will fail to take care of you.
How to use a Yoga Strap
Many ask how to use a yoga strap, and think it is an unnecessary addition to their practice. There are many yoga strap exercises to take note of. Yoga strap stretching essentially involves all of the typical poses that you do, with the added assistance of a strap.
You can use yoga straps when you sit with your feet forward and your spine upright. With the strap wrapped around a pillar in front of you, perform paschimottanasana. Another yoga strap exercise is to lie flat on your back with one leg facing forward and the other leg extended vertically. Put the strap on the ball of the vertical heel and hold. This is a lying down version of the extended hand to big toe pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana), where you can use the strap. These are three typical yoga strap exercises, but there are much more. The following are 5 asanas where using a strap can add to their effectiveness.
- Seated Forward Bend, Paschimottanasana
- Dancer’s Pose, Natarajasana
- Cow Face Pose, Gomukhasana Arms
- Half or Full Boat Pose, (Ardha) Navasana
- Head-to-Knee Pose, Janu Sirsasana
In difficult poses, there is most likely a way to integrate a yoga strap to make it easier. So it makes sense to invest in a yoga strap and perfect your practice today.