The good folks at Zen Yoga Strap sent me a strap to try out. At first I was dubious (“It’s just another kind of strap,” I thought. “Why not just buckle up a strap to whatever length you want? Why do you need this thing that looks like three loops sewn together?”)
Well, I’ll tell you why: Zen Strap is awesome.
The wide handles are much easier on my hands than the thinner straps that we usually get at studios. And because the handles for Zen Strap are sewn into a loop, you don’t have to hold the strap tightly to prevent it from slipping. You hold onto the loop, which is much easier because it doesn’t really as much on grip strength. Also, the fabric of the strap is thicker and more sturdy than most in-studio brands. With Zen Strap, it’s easy (well, easier) to hold my leg up in the in Utthita Hasta Padangustasana (Standing Hand to Big Toe) or Natarajasana (Dancer).
You can also use Zen strap around your wrists or your arms to help with shoulder opening and stability. For example, you put a hand in each loop and take your arms above your head, or you put an arm in each loop and do a handstand). Looking at the photos on the website, I was dubious when I saw the yogis using it for handstand, but then I tried it and thought, “Well, that’s pretty darn nice, actually.”
The limitation? Well, you have three loops to choose from in the Zen Strap and it’s not adjustable. So if the length doesn’t work for you, then you could be out of luck. For example, if you have very broad shoulders (or big biceps), then maybe sticking your arms into the loops will be too snug. I’m pretty flexible, so I can get Zen Strap around my feet in Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), but if you’ve got tight hamstrings, you may need a traditional longer strap to get the support you need and keep your spine long.
I was surprised by how much I liked Zen Strap. If you’re looking for an easy strap-like accessory and want a tidy friend, Zen Strap could be it. It will never replace full length studio straps because it doesn’t have quite the same versatility, but it gets a lot done. (And bonus, you don’t have to fuss with looping the strap into buckles correctly like you do with traditional straps – YAY!)
And, a promo code for you if you want to try it out. (No kickback for me, fyi.). Promo code for 15% off: rscott317