The yoga wheel is the new must-have product to hit the yoga world. Originally brainstormed from Sri Dharma Mittra, and his son, Yogi Varuna. This ever so popular dharma yoga wheel comes in different sizes, but each size has the same concept in mind. Whether you choose the small, medium (most common), or jumbo yoga wheel, the purpose is to improve your yoga practice.
But Does It Really Work?
Even though it’s just a plastic wheel, it does really work to deepen your yoga practice. To be specific, the yoga wheel consists of an outer and inner layer. The inner layer is made from a strong durable plastic typically made from ABS plastic or cork material. While the outer layer is made up of high-density foam for cushion during use. This layer can vary between brands, and to sum it up, the thicker the foam, the more cushion it has and the more comfortable it is to roll on. Nature’s Integrity Yoga Wheel can be purchased off of Amazon.
Using the yoga wheel prop is as simple as placing the wheel under your body for support in many different variations. It is used for many different yoga poses ranging from easy to challenging, and it is very beneficial for rolling out your back and neck muscles. The best thing about this prop is how much you can truly increase your flexibility and strength in a supportive and effective way.
7 Yoga Wheel Poses For Stretching
1) The Backbend (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
The yoga wheel is best known for deepening your backbends. It works perfectly by allowing you to place the wheel under your back and roll out your back muscles before folding into your backbend.
Once you are warm and stretched out, you place the wheel behind you while in a seated position. Then gently bring your lower back down onto the wheel with an exhale. Fold your back over the wheel and allow a couple of rounds of inhalation and exhalation. Once you are ready, you can find your deepest variation of the backbend while bringing your head and arms down around the wheel. The yoga wheel can be very useful in achieving deep, beautiful backbends.
2) Headstands (Sirsasana)
The yoga wheel is extremely beneficial in establishing headstands. You start this practice with the wheel up against a wall. Go on to your forearms while grabbing the wheel with both thumbs facing up. While keeping your shoulders lifted, lower the crown of the head onto the floor. Press the upper back onto the wheel and walk your feet inwards towards the wheel. With one leg at a time slowly lift each leg up until your heel finds the wall.
Once both legs are in place with the heels against the wall, you can hold and build strength and confidence in your headstand while remembering to continue to press the arms down into the ground. To come down, slowly lower one leg at a time to the ground, and finish in a child’s pose.
3) Child’s Pose (Balasana)
The yoga wheel assisted child’s pose is a fan favorite since it feels so amazing to deepen the stretch within your neck and shoulders all the way down your spine and open up the hips. This is a pretty easy stretch to achieve with the yoga wheel.
Simply sit in a seated position with your toes facing down to the ground. With your knees separated, holding the top the wheel out in front of you, kneel on the ground and stretch the wheel out in front of you.
Take a couple of rounds of inhalation and exhalation, then lean your torso forward and lengthen your spine. Continue your stretch forward until your abdomen is resting as close to or on top of your thighs. From here allow your forehead to rest on the mat and your let your head and neck relax in this extended stretch. Your neck, shoulders, and back will thank you!
4) Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana)
While perfect for stretching all muscles, the yoga wheel takes your Hanumanasana variation to the next level. Start on the floor with your right leg forward and your weight on the right heel. Place your hands on the ground on each side of your leg so they are supporting most of your weight and keep your knee slightly bent.
Bring the top of your left foot and knee to the ground and place the yoga wheel under your right ankle. Once your balance is established, find your deepest variation. Take your thumbs to rest at against the heart on the Anjali Mudra.
5) Plow Pose (Halasana)
To enter the Plow Pose, start first with a yoga wheel assisted shoulder stand. While in a seated position, place the yoga wheel right behind your lower back and hold firmly there. Fold backward over the wheel and come to the top of your feet. Roll backward till you find the ground with your shoulders.
While holding the wheel tight, straighten and bring your legs up into a shoulder stand. Form there breathe deeply and lower your legs behind your head until they reach the ground and land in Plow Pose. Hold for multiple inhale and exhalations.
6) Lizard Lunge (Utthan Pristhasana)
Open up the hips while stretching the quads and hip flexors with the yoga wheel assisted lizard lunge. When you add the yoga wheel to this pose, you take it up a notch with increased balance and a deeper stretch.
To start, kneel onto one knee with the other leg extended out behind you. Then place the yoga wheel under the ankle of your extended leg behind you. Next, lean forward and place your hands under your shoulders on the inside of your front foot. From there, firmly press your back leg into the yoga wheel and lift your knee off the ground while rolling the wheel away to extend your leg. Once in position, press firmly through your palms and stretch though your toes to achieve the deepest stretch. Hold for 3 to 4 breaths.
7) Crow Pose (Bakasana)
Crow Pose requires a lot of strength and balance within the body. This is one of the most challenging poses to accomplish.
To achieve this challenging pose with the yoga wheel, place the yoga wheel flat on the ground (on its side), and come into a squatting position with your feet close together.
Next, place your hands on each side of the wheel and open your knees slightly to align with your arms’ distance apart. Hold your core muscles tight and lean forward with your elbows slightly bent. Bring your knees to rest on the back of your upper arms. Here is the tricky part of finding the right balance to hold the pose, so take your time and go slow until you feel comfortable.
Yoga Wheel Size And How They Breakdown
We mentioned the yoga wheel comes in a couple of different sizes, so let’s take a look at what each size is used for.
The most common and most versatile yoga wheel size is the 13-inch wheel. This wheel can be used for pretty much all your needs. It is large enough in circumference to support your body in backbends and easy enough to roll out the entire length of your spine. It also is the perfect size to support you in headstands and inversion. Most people gravitate to this size yoga wheel whether they are a beginner or advanced yogi since it is the most versatile wheel on the market.
The next size wheel yogis buy would be what we call the large or jumbo wheel. This wheel is exactly what it sounds like, it is the largest yoga wheel coming in at 15 inches. This wheel is more suitable for the very newest of beginners. The downside of this size wheel is that many people end up buying a smaller wheel down the road when they master their poses and want to deepen their stretches. For example, one might buy the jumbo wheel to increase flexibility for their backbends, but the large wheel can only take your backbend so deep since it is so large, then you may have to buy a smaller 13-inch wheel to get the full effects of a yoga wheel backbend with a wheel sized for the right amount to roll into the deepest bend.
The last size of the yoga wheel is the small or mini wheel that comes in at 6 inches. This is a unique little wheel, but not very versatile. Its main purpose is to achieve a deep massage for your back for localized pressure points.
To Sum It All Up
Yoga Wheels are a pretty cool, fun new yoga prop that really ups your yoga game. Better balance, increased flexibility, increased core strength and deeper backbends are among some of the biggest benefits you gain from incorporating the wheel into your practice, not to mention mastering an awesome headstand! Plus, it’s always fun to boost your Instagram with some exotic pictures.