Recently I wrote a blog here on Yoga Bolsters. Now I want to provide insight on the value and incredibly wide uses for Yoga Straps for your yoga practice.
Yoga Straps were first popularized by Yogacharya BKS Iyengar in the 1970s, and they are now becoming common in many other yoga classes. And I see them being used in fitness classes as instructors of all disciplines have discovered their value.
Yoga Straps can be an adapted to any yoga pose as an Extension, Support, Bracing or Binding.
As an extension, they are valuable in a sitting pose and cannot (or should not!) safely reach your toes. A Yoga Strap wrapped around your feet enables you to correctly perform the pose by avoiding rounding and stressing your back.
Looped Yoga Straps can be used as a support for the arms in a handstand. Place the narrowly looped strap just above the elbows on the upper arms. Press into the strap to keep the arms straight and help support your weight – allowing for a longer hold. I also recommend a looped strap around the elbows in shoulder stand to keep them from going too wide. Together with folded blankets under the shoulders this allows the yogi to maintain a strong, safe pose.
Another popular use for Yoga Straps is as a brace to support good posture for the shoulders, providing feedback on what good posture feels like. This “strap jacket” worn during the class or sitting at a desk will remind you to maintain good posture.
Yoga Straps can be used strapping the legs too. With poses such a Viparita Karani (legs up the wall), a single looped strap mid thigh will help secure the legs. This strap brings attention to the legs and helps support them during the pose. A strap on mid thighs in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (a reclining back bend done through a yoga chair) will keep the legs together and prevented from rolling out. This adaptation can be used as a variation where appropriate in a restorative practice or anytime. It just feels good!
When I travel I always carry a yoga strap with me. They are small and light and easily fit into my luggage. One of the best things I can do after a long day of travel is to pull out my strap and stretch out my hips and legs with a session of Padangustasana (Hand to Big Hoe Pose) and a series of shoulder openers in my hotel room.
Should you want to experience or receive any suggestions for the use of a Yoga Strap please do not hesitate to contact me or try one of my classes.
Enjoy you practice!
Kelly Cooper, RYT
AYC Public Class Teacher with 17 years teaching experience