I’m a big proponent of yoga props, such as straps, blocks, bolsters and blankets. If it will help me attain a pose, I’m all in. So naturally I was jazzed to check out an updated yoga strap designed to help me achieve an even deeper stretch.
Unlike a typical strap, the Zen Yoga Strap ($19.95) is a closed loop that measures about a foot and a half in length. It comes fixed with three ready-made smaller loops, one of which is tapered to make a handy grip.
The theory behind the Zen Yoga Strap is that once you’ve relaxed into the pose you can work your way up the strap, grab for the next loop and progressively deepen your posture.
I used the strap for at least a dozen asanas and found that the design worked best for chest openers, forward bends or any pose where you’re required to grab your toes and extend, like utthita hasta padangusthasana. The innovative loop design made it possible to hold the strap with only two fingers, instead of my usual death grip, so I could concentrate on my breath and let go.
Without the use of props my Happy Baby can get pretty cranky. The short length of the Zen Yoga Strap worked especially well on this pose, too. The two closest loopholes provided the perfect amount of resistance to keep my tailbone down and my chest open, and I didn’t have to deal with excess strap dangling all over the place. (The Full Baby pose requires two straps or you could do a Half Baby.)
The company’s website offers example of other more advanced poses that can be made accessible with the help of their three-loop strap, but the coolest part (besides the seven colors you can choose from) is that you don’t have to break the flow of your practice while you stop and adjust your strap.
There is absolutely no reason to struggle with a pose when you can use a prop. Grab a strap to create length, give yourself permission to open up and go deep.
What yoga prop do you find most useful? —-Karen