How to Use a Yoga Strap to Open Your Shoulders

Use a yoga strap for more flexible arms and shoulders

This yoga for opening the shoulders and arms with a yoga strap is part of the Prime Women 30-Day Fitness Challenge. If you haven’t yet, get all the details and learn how you can participate! All you need is 5 minutes a day for 30 days to commit to a healthier you!


This 10-minute yoga sequence will help open up your shoulders and focus on the arms. This workout also uses a yoga strap to help achieve this. If you don’t already have a yoga strap you can use a robe belt in its place. Or if you buy a yoga strap using Amazon Prime many have free same-day or next-day delivery.

What Are The Benefits of Using a Yoga Strap?

Whether you’re just starting out or have been practicing yoga for a long time a yoga strap can benefit your practice. Over time, using a yoga strap will increase your flexibility, improve your posture, help you get an even better stretch and provide support and alignment in poses that may be difficult for you. Yoga straps are especially great for people who have tight shoulders, and this short yoga sequence will show you how to use one to help open them up.

Yoga to Open The Shoulders

  1. Sitting on your mat (use blankets to support yourself if necessary), take your strap and pull it taught between your hands.
  2. Lift your arms to the sky, and push arms back until they feel a little stuck. Pause there.
  3. Move your shoulders away from the ears and pull on the strap as if you were trying to rip it apart in the center.
  4. Take your chin to your chest then wind the strap from side to side. Then lower your hands back.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 again.
  6. Repeat steps 1-4 once more, but this time try to take the hands and shoulders wider. Try to bypass the part where you felt stuck when doing the first time.
    • If you have sensitive shoulders, shoulders that dislocate easily or some other shoulder issue, like a frozen shoulder, do not bully the shoulders or push past the point of comfort. Instead, try putting the strap back where you had been and bending the elbows into a 90-degree angle.
  7. Lace the strap up, creating a loop that is about inner armpit distance in width. With the tail of the strap behind you, put the loop around your wrists.
  8. Pulling wrists away from each other, lift the arms up overhead. Let the shoulders creep up towards the ears and then relax the shoulders down the back on the inhale.
  9. Exhale and stretch the arms to the left. Hold for a moment before returning arms overhead, looking up at the strap.
  10. Bring chin to chest and then lean arms toward the right side of the body. Hold for a few breaths before bringing arms back to the center. Exhale and bend the elbows.
  11. Place the looped strap slightly above the elbows. Bring arms overhead, pulling arms apart to stretch the strap. Tuck your chin into your chest to let your strap clear your head, then lean the arms back.
  12. Reach arms over to the left. On the exhale stretch the opposite direction, taking arms to the right.
  13. Bend at the elbows, almost as if you were trying to take off a tight sweater. Try and pull the strap apart with your elbows, and lean the arms forward and through, keeping the elbows bent.
  14. Swing the elbows from side to side, still pulling the elbows away from each other. Do this several times before releasing, and shaking off the arms.
  15. Create a loop in your strap that is double the width of your shoulders. Lodge your thumbs in the strap. Lift the arms behind you, then bring the left arm down and the right arm up and over.
  16. Swing the arms around and take the strap behind your back. Then swing back around so the opposite hand is behind the head with the strap. Do this swing several times.
  17. Place hands back overhead with elbows slightly bent. Stretch the arms back. Release
  18. Hug the strap into the base of the neck. Ease the strap to the back of the skully and pulling the strap taut in one hand take the head from side to side.
  19. Hold arms up, with the strap pulled tautly in each hand. Lean the head back so it is resting in the strap. Hold for a moment before releasing.
  20. Tight the strap so the loop is smaller, slightly less than shoulder-width. Taking the arms back behind you, lasso the wrists into the strap. Pull the wrists apart as if you were trying to tear the strap.
  21. On the inhale lift the chest and head toward the sky. On the exhale round the back and tuck the chin. Repeat several times.
  22. On the last rounding, fall forward bringing the arms up. Take the right ear to the right shoulder, climbing the arms to the right to open up the left shoulder.
  23. Repeat step 22 on the opposite side to open up the right shoulder.
  24. Release and ground your hands into your thighs. Roll your shoulders back and feel the difference.




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