After the yoga blocks, yoga straps/yoga belts are the second most commonly used prop you will see in yoga classes. Yoga straps are often used as an extension of your arm/hand. They are great tools for working on flexibility so they are mostly used for stretching.

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Yoga straps can have plastic or metal buckle. Just like with cork vs foam yoga blocks, it’s just a matter of personal preferences which one you like more.

Plastic Buckle Yoga Strap

Metal Buckle Yoga Strap

When you buy a yoga strap, pay attention to the length of the strap. They are usually 6(182 cm), 8(243 cm) or 10 (304 cm) foot long. I find the middle length the most versatile, but it also depends on how tall you are.

Yoga Strap 6/8/10 Feet Options

If you don’t have a yoga strap you can try using a scarf, necktie or belt or something similar. Make sure it is not made of stretchy material, because unlike resistance bands, often used in fitness classes, yoga straps are not elastic.

Now let’s look at some yoga poses you can practice with a yoga strap.

1. Extended Hand To Big Toe

Use a strap around your foot if holding the big toe is too difficult. Begin with a leg slightly bent and slowly work on straightening the leg and shortening the length of the strap. You can also use a wall to help you find balance in this pose.

standing hand to toe pose with a strap
standing hand to toe pose for beginners

2. Dancer Pose

Loop a strap around one foot, hold the other end of the strap with both hands over the shoulder and start moving into the dancer pose. Walk your hands down the strap as much as you need to shorten the distance between hands and foot. Keep lifting the chest and kicking the foot into the strap.

dancer pose for beginners
dancer pose how to for beginners

3. Cow Face Arms

Tight shoulders often prevent people from being able to clasp hands behind the back. A yoga strap helps to modify the pose and still receive all benefits of the stretch. Just hold onto the strap with both hands and shorten the grip as your progress in this pose.

cow face pose for beginners
cow face arms pose with a strap
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4. Shoulder Stretch

This is one of my favourite ways to use a yoga strap because you can do it anytime, not just during your yoga practice. I like to keep a strap on my work desk and stretch shoulders during the breaks. Begin by sitting or standing with a neutral spine and hold a strap above your head with both hands wider than your shoulders. Bring the arms back and down, then up again, slowing down on the difficult spot. You can adjust the strap as much as you need to feel the stretch in the shoulders and chest.

how to use yoga strap for beginners

5. Seated Forward Bend

Hold the ends of the strap with both hands and place the strap around your feet. Keeping the spine long, gently pull yourself forward until you feel the stretch on the back of the legs.

seated forward fold with yoga strap

6. Head To Knee Pose

Just like in the previous pose, use a strap around the foot and pull yourself forward.

head to knee pose with yoga strap

7. Reclined Hand To Big Toe Pose

Just as in standing version of this pose, you can loop a strap around your foot and gently pull the leg closer to you to deepen the stretch.

reclined hamstring stretch with yoga strap
reclined hand to big toe pose with yoga strap

8. Boat Pose

This boat pose variation with a strap is great if you struggle with keeping spine long in this pose due to the lack of core strength. Using a strap requires a little less core strength so that you can focus on straightening the back, stretching the hamstrings, and balancing on the sit bones. Bend your legs and place the strap around your feet, holding on to the ends of the strap with both hands. Slowly lift your legs, keeping the spine long. You can keep the legs bent or straighten them.

boat pose with yoga strap
boat pose with yoga strap
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9. King Pigeon Pose

From Pigeon pose, bend the back leg and place your strap around the foot. Hold the end of the strap with both hands above the head and adjust the distance between hands and foot as much as your flexibility allows.

king pigeon pose with yoga strap

10. Reclined Pigeon Pose/ Figure 4 Stretch

Reclined pigeon pose is a great alternative to a classic pigeon pose, especially for people who have knee issues in classic pigeon pose. You can do this pose without a strap, but if holding hands behind your thigh/shin doesn’t feel comfortable, hold onto the strap instead and pull your leg closer. Another option is to place a strap around the foot, straighten the leg and gently pull the strap to intensify the stretch.

figure four glute stretch with yoga strap
hip stretch for beginners with yoga strap

11. Bound Poses

If you don’t have enough flexibility yet to clasp your hands in bound yoga poses, try using a strap. As you advance, shorten the grip until you are able to clasp your hands without collapsing chest and shoulders.

bound yoga pose with yoga strap
bound warrior with yoga strap
marichyasana with yoga strap for beginners
marichyasana bound twist with yoga strap

These were some of my favourite ways to use a yoga strap, but there are so many more ways to use it. So experiment and find what works best for you :)