In some yoga classes and on some DVDs, you will notice yoga props being used. Hatha yoga classes, particularly beginner level classes, often use props. Maybe you’ve shopped for a yoga mat and wondered if you should buy the straps and blocks sold next to the mats.
Yoga straps can be beneficial for beginners, as well as more advanced students. For beginners, the use of a strap helps deepen the stretch and perform the asanas, as you are learning. For me, the strap helped with poses such as seated forward bend. Straps help advanced people perfect more complex poses. This is the most often used prop by yoga practitioners of all levels.
The use of a yoga strap helps increase flexibility at all levels. For most people, this is particularly important early in the practice. If you aren’t very flexible and want to increase flexibility, using a strap is a good idea.
A yoga strap helps in performing the asanas correctly. This is the reason B.K.S. Iyengar yoga uses props. For example, if using the strap in seated forward bend, you can increase the stretch, while keeping correct posture. This is helpful in keeping the back flat as you are bending and stretching forward.
There are many different types of yoga straps on the market. Most are made of a durable cloth or hemp material. Some are made of a stretchy material. Some have handles and some do not. If you start searching for yoga straps, you may wonder which is best. There are a lot of opinions on which are the best straps, but it’s really a matter of personal preference.
For example, many people say you need handles on the straps. However, I’ve used exercise straps that don’t have handles and they have worked equally well for me. In fact, sometimes it can be easier to just grab higher on the strap than to adjust the straps with handles to make it shorter. Trying out a friend’s straps is one way to decide.
Yoga straps aren’t expensive, but if you don’t have the money or don’t want to spend it right now, you can use exercise straps that you may already have. Another way is to use a tie or the belt from a robe or jacket. You can even tie loops at the ends to simulate handles.