If you are not following many yoga teachers online, you may not have come across yoga wheels yet, but you are sure to soon. The latest craze sweeping the yoga world is designed to release tension and tightness in the back, chest, shoulders, abdomen, and hips.
A fairly simple plastic wheel at first glance, this piece of equipment is seen by many as a game changer for their yoga practice.
What can it be used for?
One of the yoga wheel’s main uses is for backbends. These can be particularly challenging for some people. Whilst the wheel does provide a strong backbend, it can make entering the posture much more accessible and allow you to achieve bends that you had not thought possible when trying to use a bolster or other equipment to help you. The wheel can also support you in a shape before you push away for the full pose, such as in a bridge pose.
In terms of other poses, the yoga wheel can add stability to the forearm stands as it gives you something to counterbalance on. It can also be a useful prop in supporting your legs to kick up into a handstand.
A yoga wheel can also improve your core stability. Adding an element of balance to some of your more basic poses, such as standing poses, planks, or arm and leg extensions, can give your core muscles an extra workout as they correct the imbalance you have added to the pose.
In addition, the wheel has the effect of massaging the entire length of your spine. This is perfect if you’re sat at a desk all day and really need to be stretched out and opened up.
How do I use a yoga wheel?
Unlike many other yoga props, using a yoga wheel can take some practice. However, it will be worth it when those elusive poses become possible. There are extensive video tutorials online that show you how to incorporate the wheel into difficult poses and where to hold it. You are mainly going to be using it for support, but this is really a tool that you can get creative with. Practitioners recommend to always hold the wheel on the side closest to you so that it cannot roll over your own hands if a pose goes wrong.
You can also use the wheel to hold onto in the place of a strap or a belt, for example, in a seated forward bend. Place the wheel at the end of your feet and reach towards it. Having something to hold onto allows you to extend and deepen the stretch.
If there is a class near you where a teacher is using the yoga wheel, be sure to head along and see what you can learn. At the same time, be free to experiment with the endless possibilities that this prop offers.
Most importantly, the yoga wheel can inject some fun back into your daily yoga routine. If you’re finding yourself getting bored with the standard poses that you run through each day, you’re sure to liven up when faced with the challenge of balancing on a wheel!