As the practice of yoga has evolved through the years, so has the way we practice it. While the practice itself is centuries old, there’s no harm in allowing the advances of modern technology to enhance it.
Thus, we have the yoga wheel. This new accessory has allowed us yogis to advance further in our practice and reach poses sooner than we would without its help.
Now, what exactly is a yoga wheel?
A yoga wheel is a hollow and flexible wheel about a foot in diameter. It helps to advance asanas (or poses), stretch the spine, and expand the breadth of the front of the body.
Let’s dive deeper into its many health benefits and maybe you’ll decide to step up your yoga game with a wheel of your own!
5 Health Benefits of the Yoga Wheel
Wheels have a great use as a massager. Similar to a foam roller, a wheel can be used to release tension in sore muscles throughout the body but is especially helpful as a back massager.
Place the wheel at the base of your spine from a seated a position so that it will be able to roll straight backwards. Then, lean your weight onto the wheel, allowing it to take the full gravity of the weight of your back. Push off the mat with your feet and roll your spine up and down the wheel.
Yoga wheels can serve an important part of growing your flexibility in yoga. It can be used as a modifier to help you stretch deeper into the poses, allowing muscles to lengthen, strengthen, and release tightness.
3. Core Strengthening
One of the most prominent health benefits a yoga wheel can provide is a stronger core when the tool is utilized regularly. While not necessarily the first use thought of when listing yoga wheel health benefits, core strengthening can really be a result if the wheel is used in the right way.
Some different ways to do this include: placing your feet on the wheel while in a plank to require more control with your core to keep balance; placing it underneath your side while in a side plank to a side crunch; and using it as a tool to complete a leg reach.
4. Balance Challenge
Balance is one of the core components of yoga but tends to be one of the harder aspects to master. If you feel confident in your current level of balance and want to take it to the next level or want a tool to help bring your balance from zero to somewhere, a wheel can help you out.
For more advanced yogis, try to balance on the wheel with one foot while holding the toes of the other foot straight out in front of you with its respective hand.
If balance is something of a struggle for you, balancing with two feet might be an easier place to start.
Using your yoga wheel regularly to improve your balance will help to show the most results.
5. Lengthening the Spine
Your back can get tight from daily things such as sitting at a desk, sleeping, or spending too much time in a car. Normal routines can take a toll on the spine, but luckily yoga has numerous poses designed to lengthen the spine and release built-up tension it’s accumulated.
A yoga wheel can help here by assisting you in backbend! The pressure and motion will help tend to the individual vertebrates and give your spine the most love. Start sitting down with your legs folded straight back under you. Place the wheel at the base of your spine, tighten your core, and slowly lean back onto the wheel.
Allow your spine to relax and stretch it out inch by inch. You’ll be amazed at how much better a little spine stretch can make you feel!
Benefits to the Practice Beyond Health
Beyond body and health functions, yoga wheels also assist in the practice of yoga by allowing you to go deeper into poses with their rolling help. What once felt like too far of a reach might be easier when you can roll into it.
They also add a measure of security when attempting a pose that feels a bit trying. For inversions, it provides a safe place to land or serves as support for your back. Think of it as the wheel spotting you!
Whether it is the health benefits or the functional benefits that are attractive to you about the yoga wheel, it’s still a great tool to have in modern yoga practice.