Explore Yoga Strap Poses: Understanding Yoga Strap Essentials

Explore Yoga Strap Poses: Understanding Yoga Strap Essentials

There's a humble yet powerful tool in my yoga journey that I've found to be an essential yoga prop, enhancing my practice in ways I never expected - a yoga strap. At first my ego got in the way. I thought, “yoga straps are for beginners”, “I’m flexible, what is a yoga strap good for”?

Well, after asking myself “what is a yoga strap?”, I began to realize just how powerful yoga straps are as a yoga prop to enhance my yoga poses and practice. 

The Power of Yoga Straps

Yoga straps have the ability to deepen our stretch, refine our alignment, and make challenging poses more accessible. But their use goes beyond these physical benefits.

Just as a warrior doesn't go into battle without their weapon, a yogi can greatly benefit from the use of this yoga prop in the right yoga pose. Armed with a yoga strap, you empower yourself to boldly navigate through the intricacies of your yoga practice.

Odyssey Yoga Strap yoga prop by Asivana Yoga Company Dancers pose nataraja with strap

What is a Yoga Strap?

So, what is a yoga strap? In simple terms, a yoga strap is a tool used in yoga practice to assist with alignment, balance, flexibility, and strength. Made from a variety of materials such as cotton, hemp, or polyester, a yoga strap is essentially a long, durable belt with a buckle at the end that can form a loop.

The Role of a Yoga Strap

But what truly makes a yoga strap vital to yoga is the role it plays in bridging gaps in our yoga practice. A yoga strap, like all yoga props, helps us unify the elements of our yoga practice that may seem distant or unattainable, inviting a sense of interconnectedness and personal growth.

Ok, that’s a little grandiose. A yoga strap extends our reach so we can get into certain yoga poses while maintaining proper alignment in our bodies, avoid injury from over straining, and to effectively deepen our yoga poses. Yoga strap poses are an important aspect of our yoga practice whether as a beginner or an advanced yogi focusing on their alignment.

What is a Yoga Strap Used for?

A common question from yogis, what are yoga straps used for?. Let me tell you, A yoga strap can be used to enhance many yoga poses, making it a versatile and essential addition to your yoga kit. From helping beginners to find alignment in challenging postures, to enabling seasoned yogis to deepen their stretch or hold a pose for longer, a yoga strap has an abundance of value.

Moreover, it’s not just about how to use yoga strap in the physical sense. This yoga prop also serves as a symbol of exploration and expansion. It encourages us to:

  1. Extend beyond our comfort zone safely
  2. Overcome limitations physical and mental
  3. Discover our inner strength through concentration and focus

In essence, a yoga strap empowers us to explore our potential and embody the spirit of heroism within ourselves, for ourselves. Now, let’s get into some yoga strap poses that you can do today.

Asivana Yoga Company Unleash Your Inner Hero Banner

Yoga Strap Poses for Your Yoga Practice

Discovering yoga strap poses can be a transformative experience, allowing you to reach new heights in your practice. Let's explore some of these poses and how your yoga strap can enhance them.

Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirasana)

Instruction: Start by sitting on your yoga mat with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh, letting your right knee fall out to the side. 
How to Use a Yoga Strap: Loop the yoga strap around the arch of your left foot. Holding both ends of the strap, gently draw your torso towards your extended left leg. 
Benefit: This pose helps increase flexibility in the hamstrings and calves. With a yoga strap, you can maintain the integrity of your spine and avoid straining your back, even if your hands don't yet reach your foot.

Standing Leg Raise (Uttitha Hasta Padangustasana)

Instruction: Stand tall, find your balance on your right foot, and lift your left foot off the ground.
How to Use a Yoga Strap: Loop the yoga strap around the arch of your lifted foot. Hold the ends of the strap as you straighten your left leg in front of you. 
Benefit: This pose improves balance and strengthens the legs and core. The yoga strap assists with leg extension, especially if you're working on your flexibility.
Variations: You can try this pose with your extended leg out to the side.

Odyssey Yoga Strap yoga prop by Asivana Yoga Company Standing Leg Raise Supported

Dancer's Pose (Natarajasana)

Instruction: Stand tall, shift your weight onto your right foot, and bend your left knee so that your left foot moves towards your hips.
How to Use a Yoga Strap: Loop the yoga strap around the top of your left foot and hold the yoga strap with your left hand, kicking your foot to push into the yoga strap.
Benefit: This is a beautiful pose that strengthens the legs and core while opening up the chest and shoulders. The yoga strap helps to maintain balance and encourages a deeper backbend.

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Instruction: Sit on your yoga mat, bend your knees, and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you.
How to Use a Yoga Strap: Loop the yoga strap around your waist and over your feet, pulling gently to help your torso fold over your legs.
Benefit: This pose helps open the hips and stretch the inner thighs. The yoga strap provides support and guidance, allowing you to lean forward without straining your back.
Variations: You can lay back into supine baddha konasana. Use a bolster behind you to rest your back on.

Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

Instruction: Sit on your yoga mat, cross your right knee over your left, and stack your knees. Extend your right arm up, bend your elbow and reach your right hand down your back. 
How to Use a Yoga Strap: Hold one end of the strap in your right hand, extend your left arm down and behind your back, and hold the other end of the strap with your left hand.
Benefit: This pose stretches the hips, thighs, shoulders, armpits, and triceps. The yoga strap helps bridge the gap between your hands if they do not yet meet.
Variations: You can perform the upper body stretch in a comfortable seated or standing position to target the shoulder area.

Yoga Strap Poses - Understanding yoga strap essentials  Leg Raised Yoga Pose with the Odyssey Yoga Strap Asivana Yoga

What Yoga Strap Should I get?

Once you understand what is a yoga strap used for, the next step on your journey is to choose the right one for you. This decision largely revolves around three key factors:

  1. The length of the yoga strap
  2. The type of buckle on the end of the yoga strap
  3. The material the yoga strap is made of

What Length Yoga Strap Should I Get?

You might be asking yourself how long should a yoga strap be? This is a great question. After getting an idea from the information below, the best way to know for sure is to get your hands on some yoga straps and try the various lengths. Your local yoga studio or gym will have yoga straps you can try.

6-Foot Yoga Straps

These are ideal for yogis who already have a good level of flexibility. They're great for basic poses where you don't require much strap length. A 6-foot yoga strap will give you the most bang for your buck.

Note that many companies will manufacture super thin 6-foot yoga straps to bring the cost down but these yoga straps can hurt and may not be long enough for your yoga practice.

8-Foot Yoga Straps

8-foot yoga straps are the standard yoga strap length. They provide length for holding poses or for wrapping around the body, making them a good choice for people with moderate flexibility or those practicing more advanced poses.

If you’re not sure what length to get, this is it. This is the size I chose when designing the Odyssey yoga strap. Whether you get your yoga strap from me or another brand, make sure it's a quality yoga strap because they can last decades for something so inexpensive.

Asivana Yoga Company Shop Now Yoga Products

10-Foot Yoga Straps

These are best for very tall or bigger yogis. The extra 2 feet adds a lot more to the yoga strap but could be worth it if you are wrapping the strap around your body often. Typically, 10-foot yoga straps are extra and unnecessary. If you need one, you’ll know for sure.

It's rare for any particular person to need a 10-foot yoga strap however some studios will opt to carry 10-foot yoga straps because they want to be able to accommodate anyone that walks into to take a class. This is good practice. Teachers should consider warning students to be careful with the extra slack- don't whip people on accident!

Choosing the Best Yoga Strap Buckle

Yoga straps come with different types of closures - D-ring and cinch buckles. Your choice here depends on your personal preference. 

Yoga Strap D-Ring Buckles

D-ring buckles are highly versatile and easy to use. They allow you to create a loop by threading the strap through both D-rings and then back through one ring.

Pros: They're secure and unlikely to slip. Metal and lightweight. Easy to quickly tighten.
Cons: Can be difficult to loosen the buckle.

Yoga Strap D-Ring Buckle System on the Odyssey Yoga Strap Asivana Yoga

Yoga Strap Cinch Buckles

Also known as quick-release buckles, these allow you to make fast, one-handed adjustments to the strap length.

Pros: Can release the yoga strap quickly. Can be made with lightweight plastic
Cons: Do not hold as strong as other buckles. Metal cinch buckles are heavier and may swing into yourself or your neighbor.

D-ring buckles are the standard due to their ability to secure the yoga strap where you want it, easy to make quick adjustments, and are made with durable lightweight metal. Cinch straps are often cheaper and not as secure.

Yoga Strap Cinch Buckle System

What are Yoga Straps Made of?

Yoga straps are commonly made from polyester, cotton, and hemp. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks regarding durability, grip, comfort, and eco-friendliness.

Polyester Yoga Straps

Polyester is a synthetic material that's highly durable and resistant to abrasion and mildew. It also dries quickly. However, it can be less comfortable to grip depending on its construction. Polyester can be new or recycled. The quality is not hurt by being recycled and is a good use for upcycling polyester.

Cotton Yoga Straps

Cotton straps are softer to touch. They're often more comfortable against the skin however, they may not be as resistant to mildew as polyester, and can take longer to dry after washing. Cotton is often touted as an eco-friendly option if sourced responsibly however there are some issues.

For instance, Ethical Consumer states “In India, the water required to grow a year’s worth of cotton for export could supply over half of the population with 100 liters of water a day for an entire year. Meanwhile, over 90 million people - over 6% of India's population - don’t have access to safe water.”

Hemp Yoga Straps

Hemp straps are durable, resistant to mildew, and have a good grip. They're the most eco-friendly option for yoga straps, as hemp fibers are a sustainable and biodegradable material. However, hemp straps can feel a bit rough against the skin, especially for those with sensitive skin, and may be more expensive than the other options due to the cost of producing hemp fabric.

How to use a Yoga Strap for Yoga Practice

After selecting the perfect yoga strap, the next step is to understand how to use yoga strap in your practice. Remember, the yoga strap is more than just a yoga prop—it’s an extension of your body.

How to Use D-Ring Buckle Yoga Straps

A D-ring buckle is the most common and easiest buckle to use for a yoga strap.

How to Thread a D-Ring Buckle Yoga Strap

  1. Hold the yoga strap by the end opposite to the D-rings.
  2. Thread this end through both rings from underneath.
  3. Once it's through, loop the strap back over the top ring and through the bottom one.
  4. You've now created a loop that you can adjust to the size you need.

How to Tighten a D-Ring Yoga Strap

  1. To tighten, hold the free end of the strap and pull it away from the D-rings.
  2. The friction between the strap and the rings will keep it secure and prevent slipping.

How to Loosen a D-Ring Yoga Strap

  1. To loosen or adjust the size of the loop, lift the outer D-ring to release tension on the yoga strap
  2. Slide the yoga strap through to your preferred length or all the way out to unbuckle the yoga strap.

Yoga Strap D-Ring Buckle System in use on the Odyssey Yoga Strap Asivana Yoga

How to Use Cinch Buckle Yoga Straps

Cinch buckles are less common. They are good buckles for a yoga strap however their function is less optimal than the more common D-ring buckle.

How to Thread a Cinch Buckle Yoga Strap

  1. Hold the buckle in one hand, and the end of the strap in the other.
  2. Slide the strap through the bottom opening of the buckle from underneath.
  3. Loop the strap over the middle bar of the buckle.
  4. Pull the strap back down and through the other opening of the buckle.

How to Tighten a Cinch Buckle Yoga Strap

  1. Once the strap is threaded through the buckle, you can adjust the strap length.
  2. Pull the loose end of the strap away from the buckle to tighten.

How to Loosen a Cinch Buckle Yoga Strap

  1. To loosen the strap, simply lift the buckle and slide the strap back through.
  2. The cinch buckle will automatically lock the strap in place when you let go of the buckle.

Yoga Strap Pinch Buckle System on the Odyssey Yoga Strap Asivana Yoga (2)

What are Yoga Straps Used for?

Yoga Straps for Stretching

One of the most common uses of a yoga strap is to assist in deepening stretches. For instance, in seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana), you can loop the strap around the soles of your feet. Holding on to the ends, gently pull yourself forward, enhancing the hamstring stretch without compromising the alignment of your back. 

Yoga Straps for Alignment

What is a yoga strap used for beyond stretches? It can serve as a wonderful alignment guide. In a pose like Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), a yoga strap can help keep your knees hip-width apart. Simply tie it around your thighs, and let the strap guide your alignment as you kick your feet into your hands.

Yoga Straps for Balancing Poses

In balance poses like Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana), a yoga strap can provide the extra reach you need, allowing you to maintain balance as you extend your leg.

Yoga Straps for Restorative Yoga

Yoga straps can also aid in restorative and relaxation poses. For example, in Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana), tying a strap around your feet and outside your thighs can help keep them supported without any effort, allowing you to relax more deeply without the tension building to heightened levels.

Yoga Straps for Deepening Yoga poses

A yoga strap can also help you safely deepen your yoga poses. In a pose like Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), the strap can provide the reach to hold your feet or ankles, reach arms overhead to hold onto the yoga strap.

How to Use a Yoga Strap to Carry Your Yoga Mat

Did you know you can use a yoga strap to carry your yoga mat? Let me explain how to turn your yoga strap into a yoga mat carrying strap.

1) Create the Initial Loop

Begin by forming a loop on the buckle-end of your yoga strap. The size of this loop should be slightly larger than your rolled-up yoga mat.

Asivana Odyssey Yoga Strap D-Ring Buckle 8 Feet Long Recycled Polyester Buckle Looped

2) Secure the Loop

Slide the yoga strap loop onto one end of your rolled yoga mat. Secure it tightly to ensure it doesn't slip, but take care not to over tighten as this might damage or distort your yoga mat over time.

Asivana Odyssey Yoga Strap D-Ring Buckle 8 Feet Long Recycled Polyester Looped around Flux Cork Yoga Mat

3) Wrap the Tail End

Next, reach for the loose tail end of your yoga strap. Wrap it beneath the opposite end of your yoga mat, pulling the tail until the carrying loop reaches your desired length.

Asivana Odyssey Yoga Strap D-Ring Buckle 8 Feet Long Recycled Polyester Carrying Strap before Tying

4) Secure the Tail End

To fasten the tail end, tie an overhand knot. Tighten the knot gently, again taking care to avoid pinching or compressing your yoga mat. For an extra secure hold, consider tying a second overhand knot.

Asivana Odyssey Yoga Strap D-Ring Buckle 8 Feet Long Recycled Polyester Overhand Knot to complete carrying loop  Asivana Odyssey Yoga Strap D-Ring Buckle 8 Feet Long Recycled Polyester Double Overhand to secure carrying loop

5) Carry Your Yoga Mat

Congratulations! Your yoga mat is now ready to be transported. Feel free to carry it by hand, sling it over your shoulder, or even delegate the task to a friend!

Asivana Odyssey Yoga Strap D-Ring Buckle 8 Feet Long Recycled Polyester Yoga Mat Carrying Strap from a Yoga Strap

Too much hassle? I have a simple yoga mat carrying strap with the sole purpose of carrying your yoga mat that can double as a short yoga strap in a pinch!

A Yoga Sequence with Yoga Strap Poses

Now that you understand how to use a yoga strap, let's explore a sequence that integrates your knowledge of yoga strap poses. This sequence combines a warm up flow with the yoga strap poses we went over previously in the yoga strap poses for your yoga practice section.

Yoga Strap Odyssey Yoga Sequence Vinyasa Surya Namaskara

The Dancer’s Odyssey Short Yoga Sequence

Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskara A)

Instruction: Start with five rounds of Sun Salutation A to warm up your body.
Duration: 5 rounds

Sun Salutation B (Surya Namaskara B)

Instruction: Follow with five rounds of Sun Salutation B to continue building heat.
Duration: 5 rounds

Standing Leg Raise (Uttitha Hasta Padangustasana)

Instruction: Find your balance on your right foot and lift your left foot off the ground.
Yoga Strap - How to Use: Loop the strap around the arch of your lifted foot, holding the ends of the strap as you straighten your left leg in front of you.
Duration: 5-8 breaths on each side.

Dancer's Pose (Natarajasana)

Instruction: Stand tall, shift your weight onto your right foot, and bend your left knee so your foot moves towards your hips.
Yoga Strap - How to Use: Loop the yoga strap around your left foot and hold the strap with your left hand, allowing your foot to kick into the yoga strap.
Duration: 5-8 breaths on each side.

Transition to Seated Position

Instruction: Move through a vinyasa flow and transition to a seated position on your mat.

Odyssey Yoga Strap yoga prop by Asivana Yoga Company Forward Fold Yoga Strap Supported

Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirasana)

Instruction: Sit with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh.
Yoga Strap - How to Use: Loop the strap around the arch of your left foot, holding the ends of the strap, and gently draw your torso towards your extended left leg.
Duration: 5-8 breaths on each side.

Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

Instruction: Sit and cross your right knee over your left, stacking your knees. Extend your right arm up, bend your elbow, and reach your right hand down your back.
Yoga Strap - How to Use: Hold one end of the strap in your right hand, extend your left arm down and behind your back, and hold the other end of the strap with your left hand.
Duration: 5-8 breaths on each side.

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Instruction: Sit, bend your knees, and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you.
Yoga Strap - How to Use: Loop the strap around your waist and over your feet, pulling gently to help your torso fold over your legs.
Duration: 8-10 breaths.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Instruction: Lie flat on your back, making any final adjustments such as a supine twist, happy baby pose, or bridge pose. Then, let your arms and legs relax fully.
Duration: Stay in Savasana for as long as you want to relax and integrate the energy of your practice.

This sequence allows you to experience the utility of a yoga strap across different types of poses and transitions. As you explore these poses, remember the true essence of your practice: to unify your mind, body, and spirit.

Asivana Yoga Odyssey Yoga Strap Yoga prop

What is the Odyssey Yoga Strap?

Now that you've explored the world of yoga strap poses and uncovered the answers to questions like what is a yoga strap, what is a yoga strap used for, what size yoga strap do I need, and how to use yoga strap, the final step in your journey is to own the right yoga strap for you. Allow me to introduce you to my personal favorite yoga strap (and not just because I designed it), the Odyssey Yoga Strap - a strap that's destined to take you places.

Why Own the Odyssey Yoga Strap?

The Odyssey yoga strap embodies the spirit of Asivana, designed to bring you places and be an integral part of your yoga practice. It is more than just a prop—it's a companion on your journey towards unity and self-discovery. Crafted from recycled polyester, the Odyssey yoga strap stands as a testament to our commitment to sustainability, providing a durable, high-quality product that's built to last.

Asivana Yoga Yoga Strap Odyssey yoga strap

Why you Want to Own your Own Yoga Strap

There's something empowering about owning your own yoga strap. While studio yoga straps are convenient, having your own allows for a level of comfort, familiarity, and hygiene standard that shared yoga straps simply cannot provide. Moreover, your yoga strap becomes a personal testament to your journey—each stretch, each pose, each moment of growth is recorded in its fabric.

Embark on Your Odyssey

Are you ready to embark on your own Odyssey? By owning an Odyssey yoga strap, you're not only equipping yourself with a high-quality yoga prop, but you're also aligning with a community—a Kula—that shares your core values and strives for personal and collective transformation. 

So, yogis, whether you're fine-tuning your alignment in yoga strap poses, deepening your yoga poses, or exploring the realms of yoga beyond the mat, remember—every stretch, every pose, every breath is a step closer to unleashing your inner hero. 

It's time to take your practice into your own hands.

Blessings,

Jack

About the Author Jack Utermoehl Asivana Yoga Company Founder

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