Fear Not The Strap
Do you use a yoga strap? I find a lot of people don't--beginners, advanced... and to be quite frank, I didn't for a long time. When I first practiced yoga, being pretty naturally flexible, I thought yoga straps were for those who really struggled with basic stretching and shoulder flexibility. But now as a more advanced practitioner and teacher, I carry my yoga strap with me everywhere I go. I love using it for poses that I'm working on and even for poses where I can get pretty deep into the posture without the use of a prop. For example, I can do dancer pose or king pigeon, but some days, I just want that extra support in my alignment with a strap. Other days, my binds in warrior 2 just aren't there, be it for tightness in my shoulders or (like currently) tension in my lower back from strain. (Thanks growing baby in the carseat!!) Now I do know that there are schools of yoga that stress the use of yoga props (Iyengar being the biggest that comes to mind) and someday I hope to make it to a class, what awesome information and education to be had! Alas, I have not found classes of that sort in my area, but I will get to one at some point!
I was thinking about the use of yoga straps and how even if studios/gyms have them, instructors often ignore them altogether, or just lightly mention how you could use one here and there. And that's totally fine!!! I am a huge supporter of yoga instructors having their own style and method of the practice. However, if you instruct yoga (or plan to some day), you might want to start thinking about actually incorporating straps into your sequencing. I found it quite surprising when I started researching different ideas for yoga straps and also a little bit of exploration in my own practice. There are tons of ways to use them! And the thing about straps that I finally figured out-- it's not just for flexibility! Straps give us another means of holding a body part up (like in compass pose) and we have to feel the strength we need to hold the pose. So even though I can extend my leg and hold my foot with my hand in compass, when using a strap, I can pull my leg in closer to my body without my hand and then engage my inner thighs, core etc, release the tension on the strap, and then test my strength. Does that make sense?
I use a Sukhi Yoga strap, here is their website.
Last night I subbed yoga at a gym for the first time and I found they didn't have yoga straps. They had blocks, but no straps. Not a big deal, but it got me thinking and it led to this post. Check out the video below about 2 easy ways you can have your class use a strap for more advanced postures. (Apologies if there is a delay in audio. No idea why)