Yoga straps are one of the most underrated yoga tools that deserve more credit because they are inexpensive (find them at these stores), convenient, and versatile.
Besides helping you get deeper into your yoga poses and stretches, yoga straps also help improve your posture, especially when you’re always hunching your shoulders from sitting in front of the PC for long hours. The straps can act as a stabilizer for your legs, arms or shoulders to help you with your alignment during poses .
If you’ve not been blessed with the most flexibility, the yoga strap is there to aid you with twisting and bending into those hard-to-reach poses.
So get a strap and try out these 6 poses today to get more flexible:
Tip: Keep the strap on the balls of your feet instead of the arches to prevent injuries.
1. Reclined Hamstring Stretch
This is a great move to loosen up those hamstrings after a good run .
- Lie down and make sure your lower back is flat on the mat. Bring your right knee into your chest while you straighten your left leg with your heel in line, your left hip and toes facing the ceiling.
- Loop the yoga strap over the ball of your right foot. Then, straighten your leg and lift it up as high as you can or until your right leg is perpendicular to the floor. Remember to keep your legs straight.
- Once your right leg is at its highest, take deep breaths and hold the pose for 60-90 seconds. Make sure your left leg is straight and grounded onto the mat.
- Slowly lower your leg and repeat with the left leg.
2. Shoulder Flossing
This is the best move to remove the computer shoulder slouch and to treat your major shoulder muscles .
- Standing with your feet hip-width apart, abs tight and arms down, hold the strap with a wide grip (wide enough that your arms will be straight as you lift it).
- With your arms straight, push the strap forward, up overhead and behind you until the strap touches your lower back/ butt.
- Then move your arms back to the front to complete a rep. Try to go for 3 sets of 10 reps. To make it more challenging, slowly narrow your grip along the band to get a deeper stretch.
3. Downward Facing Dog
The yoga strap will help improve your body’s alignment as you get into the downward facing dog pose .
- Get into the traditional downward facing dog position and then ask your instructor or anyone who is around to help to fasten the yoga strap around your arms just above the elbows.
- The straps will add more resistance as you try to push your arms outwards onto the strap to engage your inner shoulder blades.
4. Cow Face Pose
A great stretch for your tight shoulders or if you’re looking for something to ease those back aches. You can do it while in the pose or wherever you’re sitting at to get rid of the tension .
- Inhale as you bring your right arm out, palms down and holding the yoga strap. As you exhale, bend your right arm back and turn it inward towards your back so the yoga strap is dangling down your back.
- Take another breath and on the exhale bend your left arm, turning it inward to reach the strap on your back. Once you got the grip, pull on the band in opposite directions. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it sans yoga strap.
5. Boat Pose
Always struggled to get into the boat pose? Use a yoga strap to help you balance into the pose. Roll on your back slowly onto the mat to avoid injuring your back .
- Sit on the mat and place the middle of the yoga strap around the balls of your feet while holding the ends of the strap in both hands.
- Inhale, sit tall and lean your torso back as you lift your feet off the floor until your legs are straight (or bend your legs if it’s too difficult to keep it straight). Hold the strap tight with your elbows slight bent to keep in position as you balance on your hips.
- Exhale and roll down through your spine while keeping the strap tight and legs straight. Pause to inhale and lift your head, neck, and shoulders and roll up through your spine back into Boat Pose. Row for 5 times.
6. Dancer’s Pose
The dancer’s pose will take some time and practice to get the hang of because it touches on your balance, focus, and back bend . Don’t worry if your hands can’t reach your toe at first. After warming up, practise this pose and sooner or later you will achieve the full dancer pose. Don’t forget to breathe throughout the pose.
- Find an object or point to focus on in front of you. Fold the yoga strap in half and hook the middle of your left foot into the loop. Hold the strap as close to the foot as you comfortably can.
- As you lift your leg up and bring your arm out to the side to balance then point it up to the sky. Keep your toes engaged.
- Then slowly lean forward, opening your chest and lengthening through your armpit as you continue to lift your leg. Bring your free hand to the strap and try to get as close to the foot as you can.
- Slowly move your hands closer and closer to the foot from the strap until you can grab hold of the foot with one of your hands.
- With the free hand, gently remove the yoga strap from the foot and discard.
- Then grab the foot with both hands, and stretch from the knee to the elbow as you try to form a U-shape. Take note of your standing leg, keep the kneecap lifted so engage your quad and protect your hamstring. Hold for 8 breaths then gently release the pose. Bend into the child’s pose to release the tension before repeating.
Check out these 4 video tutorials to get familiar with the yoga strap: