I love yoga, but sometimes, no matter how much I know it’s good for me, it can become a bit tedious, especially if you feel you can’t possibly take a pose any further than you already have. Yoga has been around for centuries and continues to provide a healthy lifestyle to all who choose to follow its path, yet that doesn’t mean that we cannot reshape it a bit or allow it to evolve into more challenging ways.
Yoga accessories allow us to reach new heights. Blocks, straps, yoga socks, and other helpful equipment help us push ourselves further than we’ve ever believed. The yoga wheel is a newer prop that may seem puzzling to those at first but which can help those wanting to push their asanas into the next realm of flexibility, strength, and balance.
What is a Yoga Wheel?
This prop is exactly as the name suggests. It is a wheel, but it offers the yogi possibilities that wouldn’t otherwise be conceivable. Spine rolls, opening up the front torso, deep stretching of the shoulders, abdomen and poses that involve deep backbends all become more attainable with this handy device. Furthermore, it offers a unique massaging technique to your spine that no other yoga accessory can do.
Ease into the Wheel
Before you dive into using the wheel with each and every pose, first, you should familiarize yourself with the wheel. It does take a bit of getting used to. Make sure to wear comfortable yoga pants and place the wheel on the ground, and lay the middle of your back on top of it. Slowly slide your body back and forth across the wheel, keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground and your arms outstretched above you.
This back massage is a great way to introduce you to this heavenly feature of the wheel but also helps you to understand how it rolls. By doing this a few times, you will help ease tension in your back and open up your front torso, which in turn helps with increasing your back’s flexibility. For those of you who spend hours sitting at a desk, this is a must-try use of the wheel.
Once you have become a little more familiar with the prop, now is the time to use it for more than just a chest opener and a back massager. Back-bend poses that once seemed impossible are more attainable, such as the camel pose, but with a deeper backbend.
- Begin as you would in a regular camel pose in a kneeling position.
- Bring the wheel to your lower back, and hold it tightly with both of your hands.
- Inhale deeply to create length within your torso; then, exhale as you slowly lower your back onto the wheel.
- Each time you practice this variation, you can go a little bit deeper.
- Eventually, you can bring your hands overhead and bend your arms to hold onto the bottom of the wheel while your head is touching the ground.
- You can also try and bring your forearms to the earth and allow them to rest.
- Breathe in this pose for a few moments; then, carefully breathe out of the movements to return to a seated position.
Always counter a backbend with a backstretch. In this case, the child’s pose is a great way to release the deepness of the previous pose.
Balancing on the ground can be tricky at first, but once you have that down, perhaps you are ready to push your limits even more. A yoga wheel is ideal for advancing this part of your practice. The plank is an all-body encompassing pose that requires the proper alignment as much as a good balance to complete it. Try this variation.
- Begin in a downward dog and breathe out shifting back into a plank pose.
- Keeping the wheel nearby, shift your body so that while your arms are holding up your upper torso, the front of your feet can be placed on the wheel.
- Hold this balanced pose for a few moments and then return back to a regular plank.
- Repeat as much as you can, and return back to a downward dog to take the tension off your lower back.
- Finally, end in a child’s pose.
Finding new ways to challenge yourself within your yoga practice can be exciting and make you feel accomplished in your yoga passion. Finding different ways to increase the benefits you receive from yoga can also re-energize your practice and make you even stronger than before.