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Good news: You don't need to be able to wrap into a pretzel to do yoga. Or to put feet behind your neck. Or to do full splits. Or to possess any abracadabra skills like this baby down here.
In fact, you don't even need to touch your toes to get into some pretty challenging poses.
Well, for starters, stop giving a hoot about how you look in the pose and what others may think of you.
Then, get your yoga strap.
If you don't have a yoga strap yet, you're in luck. Cause today we're going to cover:
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Meet Yogakali top pick – an eco-friendly yoga strap that's kind to your skin and planet Earth. Sewn from locally sourced organic cotton canvas, this US-made yoga strap is soft to the touch, yet sturdy enough to support you in those deep stretches.
A yoga strap (aka, the yoga belt) is a fun and simple prop to improve flexibility, add support, and help with alignment. Though generally used in Iyengar or Restorative Yoga, this handy accessory can be incorporated in other and more vigorous yoga styles, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, and Power Yoga.
At first glance, a yoga strap may look like just a long belt, but you'll be surprised how it can improve your yoga practice and work wonders for your body.
For starters, it's a must-have prop for yoga newbies who may lack the body suppleness or range of motion to perform some asanas.
Take Forward Folds, for example. If you tend to slouch and round your spine when leaning forward, the gentle pressure of the yoga strap can help you lengthen and extend, thus promoting a healthier spinal alignment.
Though often referred to as a yoga prop for beginners, a yoga belt often comes in handy if you're an experienced yogi. Use it to deepen the stretches and spinal twists, work on inversions, and even to fight slouching.
Flexibility training is where a yoga strap truly shines.
But don't disregard this yoga accessory if you're already bendy. A yoga strap has so much more to offer!
Here are six awesome benefits of using a yoga strap besides improving your flexibility.
You know how yoga blocks bring the floor closer to you to encourage healthy alignment? Well, the function of a yoga strap is similar.
A yoga strap gives your limbs extra length, which helps avoid slumping shoulders or hunchback and encourages spinal lengthening when required.
Staying open through the chest when needed will, first of all, make breathing easier and less constricted, and eventually help you hold the asana for more extended periods of time. Secondly, it will reduce the risk of overstretching and injury.
And yes, yoga can lead to some pretty nasty injuries contrary to the popular misconception that yoga is entirely safe (it's high time you stopped believing these other myths about yoga too!).
Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) is an excellent example of how a yoga strap can help maintain healthy alignment if you have tight hamstrings. And who doesn't nowadays?.
Check out the video below to see how a yoga strap can help you raise the leg at an angle comfortable for you and how it prevents your spine from curving.
Standing and Seated Forward Folds are another group of asanas where a yoga strap comes in handy.
Instead of trying to reach your toes and hunching your back, place the strap around your feet and start lowering yourself down by leaning forward from the hips. The prop will help you hold the spine long and relax your shoulders instead of scrunching them up to your ears.
A yoga strap is a surprisingly useful yoga accessory to help with balancing postures. All thanks to the added support it offers.
Take Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Big Toe Pose). Even very flexible yogis will find it challenging to find stability when every limb has to do something different. If you're not familiar with the pose, here's how it looks: root the standing foot to the ground, expand through the body, reach to the sky with one hand and extend the leg outward.
So if you feel like falling when extending your limbs in various directions, don't sweat it – everybody does.
Check out the video below to see how a yoga strap provides support for the extended leg in Extended Big Toe Pose and helps maintain the spinal integrity.
Arm balances are hard. But they don't have to be, especially if you have a yoga strap at hand.
How's that, you may ask?
Well, having an arm and core strength is undoubtedly important. But most of the beginner yogis don't realize that keeping your arms at shoulder distance will help you ease into arm-balancing poses.
It's not always easy, but tying a strap around your arms will help you get control over your limbs if they tend to go too far out during the inverting asana.
This is one of my favorite uses of a yoga strap.
I'm a 'chronic sloucher,' so shoulder and back pain are way too familiar to me. There isn't always time or a chance to do yoga to relieve my suffering, so this is when a yoga strap comes in.
Here's a tutorial about how to use a yoga belt as an anti-slouch tool to improve posture.
You can wear a yoga strap while you're doing chores or sitting in front of the computer. Not only will it take the tension from the back, open your shoulders and pecs, but it will constantly remind you to sit upright.
By using a yoga strap, you can visually see how you develop your flexibility and progress in your practice.
Sooner or later, you'll notice that the foot you're trying to grasp in Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Big Toe Pose) is closer and higher, and you need less strap length. At the same time, straightening legs in Forward Folds will become a breeze.
This yoga strap benefit doesn't directly relate to the practice of yoga, but nonetheless deserves its place on the list.
In case you want to save money on the yoga mat bag, or something happened to yours, with the magic sleight-of-hand, you can transform your yoga strap into a yoga sling for carrying your favorite mat.
Here's the video tutorial of how to use your yoga strap for carrying your mat.
I do recommend purchasing a yoga mat bag though since it will protect your mat from the weather conditions, dust and dirt, and eventually prolong its life.
The high-quality yoga strap will be durable, soft on the skin, and easy to use.
But… aren’t all straps like that?
Not really. The subtle differences in material or even closure system can cause significant discomfort (and disappointment). So let’s dive into yoga strap features a bit deeper before making the purchase.
The length of the yoga strap is the first thing you should consider.
Because you’ll be mostly using the prop in a loop, so you need to ensure there’s enough strap length to hold onto comfortably.
You’ll most likely come across 6 and 8ft long yoga straps nowadays. But if you’re on a taller side, look for a 10ft yoga strap – it will offer you more “room” to experiment.
By the way, in case of a yoga strap, more length doesn’t always mean better. Mainly because you probably don’t want to wrestle with extra strap fabric during a yoga class.
Yoga straps are mostly made of cotton, organic cotton, hemp, nylon, or stretchable rubber-like material.
Cotton is easy to clean, grippy, and extremely durable. It can be a bit too rough for the sensitive skin at first and often needs a short break-in period.
If your skin is way too sensitive, consider a yoga strap made of organic cotton since it’s generally slightly softer. Also, choose a yoga strap with a sleek texture rather than a rope-like webbing.
Hemp is very similar to conventional cotton in terms of softness and durability. But in contrast to cotton and organic cotton, it’s more earth-friendly, since hemp cultivation and growth is not as demanding in terms of climate and resources.
Keep in mind that props made of cotton, hemp, and nylon are stiff. Whereas rubber-like materials will have a little give to them similar to resistance bands. Many yogis find the latter more convenient and easier to use during the practice (in inversions and arm balances in particular), but the material you opt for is mostly a matter of personal preference.
Metal/Plastic Buckle. Yoga straps with a buckle closure are probably the most versatile option for any yoga practice. You can create a loop with the strap and regulate its width to match your asana and flexibility.
These yoga straps are simple in use and can be adjusted with one hand (once you get the hang of it).
Yoga straps with a quick plastic release or cinch buckle are lightweight and won’t disrupt the flow during the session as they are pretty quiet when hitting the floor. Straps with metal D-rings on one end will create more noise but are more durable compared to the plastic ones.
Loops. Yoga straps with loops are generally much less fussy to use compared to those with the buckle. They ensure a smooth transition between your poses without the need to adjust the strap for every asana.
Straps with loops are great for tracking your progress, and can easily transform into a mat carrier.
All yoga straps are easy to take care of and don’t require too much of your attention.
Most of the cotton and hemp straps are machine washable on cold.
Yoga straps of bright colors or patterns may need to be hand-washed if you want to avoid color bleed.
Don’t have time to hand clean the strap manually? No worries, just soak it in the soapy water and hang to dry.
Stretchy yoga straps should be wiped with a damp cloth. If they contain latex, avoid soaking them in water. Also, do not use soap as it can damage the material and avoid drying them in direct sunlight.
Whether you're looking for a good ol' cotton yoga strap or a modern spin on timeless design, there's no shortage of options.
To help you decide which yoga strap is right for you, I scoured the web to find some of the best yoga straps to date. Ahead, my 11 favorite yoga straps to add to your yoga inventory.
Carolina Morning Designs redefines a classic yoga strap for maximum comfort and yogi’s peace of mind.
Each strap is truly green – it’s crafted in the US from locally grown organic cotton. Rest assured that your strap will come ecologically packaged (with no plastic whatsoever). Plus, all the leftover fabric scraps are donated for upcycling.
Unlike all the other yoga belts in the market, this eco-friendly accessory sports a sleek and soft texture. Which means - no more rough weaving against your sensitive skin and no annoying friction.
When you're buying from Manduka, you know there's quality behind the name.
With its heavy and stiff webbing, this Align Yoga Strap will probably serve you for decades. One reviewer even joked that it's "built like a tank."
The yoga strap is also wider than most of the similar products, so it stays put and offers better traction. The Align Yoga Strap also sports a proprietary and easy-to-use locking system that keeps the loop safely secured even under pressure.
Keep in mind that the strap comes in long sizes (8ft & 10ft), which is great for tall yogis. But in case you're short, you might want to check out other yoga belts on this list.
Ananday was created after its founder was looking for genuinely green yoga props (rather than “greenwashed”) and alas, couldn’t find any. As a result, the brand puts sustainability and functionality at the heart of its operation.
All yoga accessories are made in an ethical and eco-friendly way and with yogis in mind.
This yoga strap, for example, is made of 100% unbleached, biodegradable cotton free from toxins and recyclable metal D-rings.
And just in case you don’t know how to use a yoga strap or ran out of ideas, the Ananday belt comes with a free e-book featuring 22 poses with a strap and yoga blocks.
'No Buckle, No Fuss,' that's the motto of Infinity Strap.
With its patented 2-loop design, Infinity Strap features no hardware. Which means - no more disruptive noises of a yoga strap hitting the floor, and no more annoying buckles to hurt your hands and feet.
With the Infinity Strap, you can smoothly transit from one asana to another without taking a break to adjust your strap and the loop length.
You might not get the kind of versatility you'd get with a standard buckle strap. Still, the STRETCH works great for the majority of asanas and is particularly helpful in inversions, shoulder and heart openers.
Infinity Strap STRETCH is made of a high resistance hybrid material with a little give. But if you prefer a no-stretch strap, check out this Infinity Strap made of organic bamboo (it’s eco-friendly, too!).
Rest assured, you'll never mix up your yoga strap with someone else's thanks to YOGA DESIGN LAB unique, colorful patterns. By the way, all YOGA DESIGN LAB straps are dyed with non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes, and they won't fade with time.
Made of cotton, these yoga straps are pleasant to touch, soft, and don't require a 'break-in' period like most other cotton straps do. They're also non-slip and don't slide around your foot.
With 8ft long and 1.5 inches wide, the yoga belt will suit the majority of the practitioners. But if you're shorter than 6 ft and pretty flexible, you might struggle with the excess of the strap in some poses.
Busy bees, keep in mind that the YOGA DESIGN LAB strap cannot be machine washed and requires the hand wash only.
Clever Yoga yoga strap comes in two sizes: 8ft for shorter yogis and extra-long 10ft for taller practitioners. It's 1.5 inches wide and features two metal D-rings to ensure secure closure.
The yoga strap is made of thick cotton, so keep in mind that the material may feel stiff at first. No worries, though - it will soften after a few washes. By the way, the cleaning process is super-easy. Just toss the strap into the washing machine and air-dry.
The reviewers loved how affordable and functional the strap is. Plus, the Clever Yoga customer service is at its highest. The company provides its customers with a lifetime guarantee. In case you're not happy with the product, they will either send you a replacement or give you money back.
Struggling to find a high-quality yoga strap that's long enough for your height?
With 10ft in length, this Hugger Mugger Quick-Release Strap is great for extra-tall yogis or those who like to have a bit more strap length at their disposal.
But that's not its only cool feature. The Hugger Mugger yoga strap features a quick-release buckle closure, so you don't have to fumble around with D-rings and cinch buckles. Plus, you can enjoy your peaceful practice since the plastic buckle won't make an annoying clinging noise when hitting the floor.
Hugger Mugger is a reputable brand with high-quality yoga gear so you can expect the strap to hold up well to the pressure and the daily wear and tear.
Made of rigid nylon, the OPTP stretching strap is 6'4" long, 1 inch wide, and will be suitable for the practitioners up to 6 feet tall. It comes with an instructional book that includes nearly 30 exercises to release tension and take your flexibility to the next level.
Contrary to its competitors, the OPTP strap is designed with 10 individual loops and features no hardware. This allows for greater control over the stretching and makes it easy to track your flexibil-ity progress. Plus, there's no need to wrestle with buckles and closure systems during your yoga class.
Keep in mind though that the added comfort of loop design comes with less versatility. For example, you won't be able to use the strap in asanas that require one big loop, such as Reclining Dandasana or Head Hammock. Some yogis can also find it hard to get their feet inside since the loops are pretty small.
Some reviewers warned that because of the rigid material and short width, the OPTP strap might feel too rough and tends to cut into the skin.
This 8 ft long yoga strap from YogaAccessories offers ample length for both short and tall yogis. It's made of thin cotton, which, according to users, is soft and gentle on the hands and feet.
Since the trap is slightly thinner than its counterparts, it's most suited for beginner yogis who work on their flexibility but don't practice strong poses yet. Moreover, this is one of the most budget-friendly yoga straps out there. Thus, you won't have to invest much money if you're not sure whether yoga is your thing.
Thanks to a plastic cinch buckle, the yoga strap is lightweight and quiet. That said, you can't expect the plastic to last forever. You'll most probably need to upgrade your yoga strap once you're ready to do challenging poses that put a lot of pressure on the strap.
Hate toting your yoga props around and prefer to stay as minimalist as possible?
Clever Yoga has found a solution.
This multifunctional Yoga Mat Strap Sling is designed to secure your mat on the way to and from a yoga studio and double as a yoga strap. And it's a successful combination, according to users.
The yoga mat strap sling features two loops that can be expanded as wide as you want. It fits extra-thick yoga mats and maybe even a towel, too.
You can use the loops for a better grip during the practice or untie them if you need extra length.
The durable cotton fabric is sturdy and will withstand the daily wear and tear. However, since the cotton is so thick, the strap may feel stiff, and some users have noted that the sling left slight indentations on their mats.
Keep in mind that the Yoga Mat Strap Sling is designed as a single strap sewn and folded into loops. Because of that, it is always a tad twisted and may not look very aesthetically pleasing.
But just in case you're not happy with the purchase, the company offers a lifetime guarantee for their products so you can get a replacement or a full refund.
This Oeco Plus yoga accessory is sturdy enough to carry your heavy yoga mat and to get you deeper into the stretches.
Made of organic cotton and hemp blend, the yoga strap features two adjustable loops and no hardware for a seamless and comfortable yoga practice.
Keep in mind that the Oeco Plus is slightly on a shorter side. But in case you find it too short, the brand offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Do you use yoga straps?
Let us know in the comments!
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