Wheel Pose (which also has many other names and is also known as Upward Bow, Urdhva Dhanurasana or Chakrasana) has always been one of those magical poses for me. It looks beautiful and majestic, and it’s also a quite advanced. On a scale of 1 to 10 full wheel is about an 8.
This pose is a full back bend and it strengthens the arms, legs, abdomen, glutes, shoulders, quadriceps and spine. It has many benefits such as stretching the chest and lungs, stimulating the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands, increasing energy and counteracting depression. It’s also therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility and osteoporosis.
There are a number of contraindications to this pose though which include (but are not limited to) back injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, diarrhea, headache, heart problems and high or low blood pressure. When in doubt check with your medical professional.
Wheel isn’t for everyone but there are gentler alternatives. Bridge pose is considered a gentle variation and alternative for wheel pose, and it has many of the same benefits. On the 1 to 10 scale of difficulty, bridge pose is a 3.
There is hope for all of us in working towards being able to do wheel pose. There are many preparatory poses to get you ready:
Stretching the abdominals: Bow, Locust
Stretching through the chest: Chest Expansion, Camel, Cobra, Upward facing dog pose
Stretching through the shoulders: Tabletop, Cow Face
Strengthening the Core: Plank Pose, Upward Plank
Stretching through the quadriceps: Dancer Pose
The key to wheel pose is the flexibility and openness through the shoulder and chest area, so if there is one area to concentrate on focus on that one.
You can practice how the pose feels by going into wheel over top of a Swiss ball (large inflatable exercise ball). This will help to stretch the chest and shoulders while still have support for the rest of the body.
There are also a few ways to work your way into this pose. You can either push up into it from the floor or work your way down into it from standing.
Don’t rush into trying this advanced pose. As it is quite advanced it could take months or years to work your way into it. Take your time and when your body and mind is ready it will happen and be comfortable.
Make sure to create a balanced yoga practice and include front forward folds as well as side bends, twists as well as back bends to prepare you.
It would be much more wiser on your part to read this valuable and informative article minimum twice now. Earmark this page for your future reference.