Yoga Strap Stretches for Beginners (Full Body Routine & Video)

Yoga is well-known for being accessible to practitioners of various backgrounds and fitness levels.

However, part of that adaptability comes from using yoga props.

From blocks and straps to blankets and bolsters, props can really help new yogis enhance their practice.

What is a Yoga Strap?

yoga strap

A yoga strap is a webbed strap, usually made with non-elastic cotton or nylon. A standard yoga strap is about two inches wide and six feet long. One end of a yoga strap typically features a metal buckle to enable the practitioner to form a loop if needed.

In yoga, a strap is usually used for “bridging the gap”. For example, if you have trouble reaching down to your toes in the Seated Forward Bend Pose, you could wrap the strap around your feet instead.

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Yoga Strap Stretch Sequence Video

Follow along with our 5-minute full-body yoga strap stretch routine for beginners.

Below we detail how to perform each stretch step-by-step.

Yoga Strap Stretch Sequence Step-by-Step

Shoulder Warm-Up

Shoulder warm-up

Start by finding a comfortable seated position. You may choose to sit in Easy Pose, Staff Pose, or even kneel in Hero Pose.

  1. Place your hands on a strap, approximately three feet apart.
  2. Pull your hands apart, creating tension in the strap.
  3. As you inhale, lift your arms overhead.
  4. On the exhale, focus on shoulder rotation and bring the strap behind your back. Try to keep the movement symmetrical and avoid bending your elbows.
  5. As you inhale again, lift the arms overhead, then bring them forward to the starting position as you breathe out.

Repeat this process 3-5 times.

Beginners Tip: The distance between your hands depends on your level of shoulder mobility, as well as your size. For example, people with broader shoulders would likely need to distance their hands further apart than petite adults. Feel free to shift the position of your hands accordingly.

Side Bend

Side bend

Once you’ve done the initial warm-up:

  1. Suspend your arms above your head. Take a breath in to lengthen through the spine.
  2. On the exhale, lean your body to the left, opening through the right shoulder and the right side of your ribcage. Take care to keep your left hip grounded. Spend a few moments here, breathing deeply into the space you created on the right side body.
  3. Inhale to lift up, then repeat on the other side.

Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

Cow face pose
  1. Bring your legs in front of you for Staff Pose.
  2. Cross your right leg over the left, stepping the outer arch of your right foot close to the left hip.
  3. Bend your left knee, bringing your left foot close to your right hip. Hold one end of the strap in your left hand.
  4. Lift your left arm, bend it at the elbow, and bring your left hand towards the back of your neck. Try to keep your elbow pointing up.
  5. With your right shoulder rotated inward, bring your right arm behind your back and find the yoga strap. Create some pressure in the strap. If desired, bring your hands closer to one another. Take care to keep your back long and straight. Stay here for 3-5 steady breaths.

Release yourself from the pose and repeat it on the other side.

Beginners Tip: If the initial leg position creates an imbalance, you can elevate your seat onto a block or a folded blanket. The aim is to have both sit bones grounded evenly. Alternatively, you can perform this pose with the primary focus on the upper body. In this case, find a comfortable seated or kneeling position.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana)

head-to-knee forward bend
  1. Come back to Staff Pose
  2. Bend your left knee and plant your left foot into the inner thigh of the opposite leg.
  3. Soften through the hip, releasing the left knee to the floor.
  4. Hold the strap with both hands, and loop the yoga strap around your right foot. Take a breath in and lengthen your spine.
  5. On the exhale, start working your way into a forward bend, leading with your chest. To apply tension to the strap, you can either shorten the distance between the hands or bend your elbows.
  6. Hold the pose for a few breaths before lifting back up.

Switch sides and repeat the pose on the other side.

Beginners Tip: Focus on keeping your back long and folding at the hip. If the strain on the hamstrings of the extended leg is too great, create a micro bend in the knee. Additionally, you can place a rolled-up towel under the knee for support.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Seated forward bend
  1. Extend both legs forward in Staff Pose.
  2. Wrap the strap across the soles of your feet.
  3. Inhale as you lengthen through your back and ground through your sit bones.
  4. As you exhale, pull yourself forward into a fold. To create tension in the strap, you can either shorten the distance between the hands or bend your elbows. Remain in the pose for 3-5 slow breaths.
  5. Then, soften through the spine and carefully roll up into the upright position.

Beginners Tip: The purpose is not to reach your toes. Instead, it’s about folding at the hip and leading that fold with your chest. Bend your knees slightly if necessary.

Boat Pose (Navasana)

boat pose

Keep the strap wrapped around your feet, then:

  1. Bend your knees and bring your feet and knees together. Keep your arms straight, and shuffle the hands closer together along the strap to create tension.
  2. Lean back to shift the weight into the sit bones. Open your chest and broaden your shoulders.
  3. When ready, lift your feet and bring your shins parallel to the ground. Find your balance and stay in Boat Pose for 3-5 breaths.

Intermediate variation: If you prefer a more challenging position, lengthen your legs diagonally.

Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)

Dancer pose

Come to a standing position and form a loop with your yoga strap, then:

  1. Shift the weight into the right foot. Bend your left knee and lift your left heel towards your seat.
  2. As you hold the strap in your left hand, insert your left foot into the loop.
  3. Extend your right arm forward, parallel to the ground. Find your balance and focus your gaze on a single spot.
  4. Lean your torso forward as you lift the left knee. Pulling on the strap, feel the stretch in your hips and quadriceps.
  5. To exit, come back to an upright position.

Release the foot from the loop and repeat on the other side.

Intermediate variation: You can use the strap to perform Dancer Pose with the overhead grip.

Reclined Hand-to-Toe Stretch (Supta Padangusthasana)

Reclined hand-to-toe stretch

Come back down to your yoga mat and lie on your back, then:

  1. Bend your left knee and bring it towards your chest.
  2. Holding the strap with both hands, wrap it around your left foot.
  3. Pressing your back to the floor, start extending your left leg up. Keep going until you feel the stretch in the back of your leg.
  4. Take 5-10 breaths before repeating the pose on the other side.

Beginners Tip: The leg doesn’t have to be completely straight, as long as you feel that elongating sensation in your hamstrings. To help you stay more balanced, you can bend your bottom leg and press your foot into the ground.

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