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You’re used to practicing with blocks during your flow. But you may be overlooking another essential prop—your yoga strap. If you’re looking to loosen up tight muscles, a yoga strap can allow you to move deeper into your practice, enabling you to find the stretch you need. In addition to warming up tight muscles, straps allow you to focus on proper alignment—and make challenging poses and stretches morse accessible, says Sarah Ezrin, a Yoga Journal contributor and yoga teacher. If you don’t have a strap, you can opt for a belt, sweatshirt, or bath towel.
If you’re completely new to yoga straps (or are looking for a quick refresher), try practicing along with Ariana Elizabeth. In this video, she breaks down 10 different stretches you can do with a strap and explains how they work to release different muscles throughout your body. She recommends using a longer strap (one that’s about 10 feet long), but the more common 6- or 8-foot strap will work just as well.
When your shoulders are feeling a little (or very) stiff, loosen them up with this simple sequence from Yoga With Kassandra. With just three different stretches, you’ll enhance the mobility and flexibility of your upper body. You’ll target both of your shoulders together, before isolating each of your shoulders. Plus, since each of these strap-assisted stretches is seated, you can do these without having to leave the comfort of your couch.
If you’re craving a deep upper body stretch, consider this video from Nicole Pearce. A certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, Pearce coaches you through a series of movements designed to tap into your strained upper body muscles. In addition to focusing your shoulders, this class also targets your upper back, spine and chest. Over the course of 22 minutes, you’ll move through a series of gentle and intentional movements, including front raises and pulldowns.
Introduce a yoga strap to your Yin Yoga practice with this sequence from Yoga with Kristen. You’ll focus on your lower body, especially your hamstrings, IT bands, and hips. If you tend to hold tension and stress throughout your lower body, Yin Yoga can help you find some release. In this type of yoga, you’ll hold postures for a longer period of time, targeting the connective tissue around your joints.
Take your typical 20-minute practice and elevate it with a yoga strap. This flow uses a yoga strap to bring you deeper into common poses, including Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) and Paripurna Navasana (Boat Pose). Over the course of this class, Well With Hels offers tips and tricks on how to use your yoga strap to its maximum potential. Through a combination of standing and seated postures, you’ll tap into muscles throughout your body—giving yourself the stretch you so desperately need.