The yoga world is evolving and changing at a rapid rate these days and there is more and more yoga equipment to choose from and it can become quite overwhelming to know what we need to enhance our yoga practice.
For me, being sat at a desk most of the time these days, my usual yoga practice needs some help to really stretch me out and open up my chest and counteract the movement in my spine that I do by being sedentary for 8 hours a day – are you with me here!
Roll in (see how I did that?!) the Yoga wheel. When I first saw this contraption I was, I must admit, a bit cynical. Another yoga gimmick in a saturated market, I thought to myself. How wrong I could be…
Not only did it relieve an enormous amount of a backache, but it helped to stretch out my chest in ways I have not achieved of late. This is how it’s been great for me. But who else could benefit from the yoga wheel?
The best advice I can offer for any newbies to the yoga wheel is to go online and check out the “how to…” user guides and have a play around and have some fun!
There are multiple ways you can use the yoga wheel, so have a look below for some inspiration
For a Beginner
You can just start with simple movements on the wheel to help with:
- Enhancing backbends and opening the chest
- Rolling on it to massage the spine
Once rolled out on the wheel, extend the legs and lift the arms over the head and create a full front body stretch that lengthens hip flexors, chest, abdomen, and arms.
Advanced backbends – now this is not for me and I have been practicing yoga for 24 years – some people can progress here and some just won’t be able to. I have been informed that arm balances really benefit from the support of the wheel being held and if you are at scorpion level then having the wheel there to support the feet as they drop over and behind the head is really helpful. Maybe in a few more years!
If arm balances are too challenging and you are working on your headstand (like me!) – it helps support this too, as you grip onto the yoga wheel which forces a push-pull effect between your head and upper back and arms and the wheel. The traction gives you great support to get up and stability in the headstand. I could have stayed there all day! it also lengthened my spine to make me use my core muscles more effectively.
Restorative yoga and general stretching
The wheel can be used to assist in any kind of pose – to help with forward bending, standing postures, it is multi-functional for a whole yoga practice – try this youtube video out for inspiration – there is even a yoga wheel routine to help you sleep.
You can use the wheel instead of a block or strap or bolster that you would usually use in restorative classes, its multi-functional use can be used in place of all 3 props.
Balancing and core work
You know how strong your core is by trying to balance on a yoga wheel! This is a more advanced balance and core strength builder, so if you are like me, then this kind of balance/core strength posture works great as you get super ab toning and challenge but you also have fun doing it and can’t hurt yourself.
So there you go, I am starting to use mine every evening after work as a restorative and preventative tool counteract the sedentary lifestyle I have created for myself with Adventureyogi (which I love BTW!)
And on weekends when I have time to enjoy a longer home practice I am really enjoying the online videos with such creative and challenging ideas. I will eventually know what to do with this wheel and weave it in naturally and without thinking.
The wheel that I love the most is the Calmia Yoga Wheel and it is £35 or £55 for the padded version.
Come and try the yoga wheel at one of our retreats in the UK or abroad. I will have used it lots by then so have some fun tricks I am sure!