A yoga wheel is the newest prop trend. It has a circular shape, hollow and you use it under your spine to open the front side body and roll out every vertebrae or tense muscle. It is a much needed tool for those who sit in front of a computer all day and are prone to bending forward or slouching.
The wheel is made by Dov Vargas – Yogi Varuna – and his business partner Raquel Vamos. Born into a family of yogis, Dov created the Dharma Yoga Wheel out of need rather than drive for business success. The prop was designed to match the spin and help in backbending.
How To Use A Yoga Wheel
You can find creative ways to use the wheel, but its main purpose is to help deepen stretches, backbend and open your front. It is placed along the top, middle or lower back of the spine depending on the pose.
Instead of putting pressure directly on your spine, which yoga blocks tend to do, the yoga wheel rolls along the muscles, the contour of your spine where the tension is most felt. You can use the wheel to hold poses or two roll up and down along your back for a massage.
Yoga Wheel Backbend
Yoga wheels feel their best when used against hunching. The more computer and mobile depend we become, the more we find ourselves leaning down with our neck and shoulders in a tiring position. Our posture continues to suffer if after a long, hard day of working at the desk, we sit in another position to watch TV. Backbends can help counteract by stretching the muscles the opposite way.
Some people find it easier to bend forward and touch their toes, but find backbends difficult. Others find backbends easier, but are looking to deepen their stretch – for example in Yin Yoga. For both types of people, the yoga wheel creates support and movement during what is considered to be complex and difficult poses. There are a few backbends possible that focus on all areas of the spine.
Yoga Wheel Pose Benefits
Yoga wheel poses help alleviate back and shoulder pain while at the same time stretching and releasing tension from your shoulders, chest, hips and back. It improves muscle and spine flexibility as well as boosts your balance, core and back strength.
Yoga Wheel Pose Variations
There are a few Yoga pose variations that you can use with the wheel. Bridge pose, Low Lunges, Reclining Butterfly, Malasana Pose, Waterfall Pose and Reclining Hero Pose are some of the most popular. Since the Yoga Wheel craze grew a few years ago, more yogis are uploading their sequences online on YouTube or on their blog making it easy for anyone interested to follow.
Please note that it would be best to ask your yoga teacher some questions and to cross out any underlying injuries or problems that may occur while doing the poses.
Yoga Wheel Stretches For Beginners
Massage through the spine is one of the first poses you should try. It realigns your back and stretches the muscles. Start seated with the wheel stuck behind you. Start to roll back while moving the wheel up along your spine. As you roll into the pose, your feet lift your pelvis. Keep your feet planted to the ground and roll up and down along the spine for a massage.
Make your planks more challenging by adding the yoga wheel to it. Do your plank as usual and rest one foot on the wheel. Do this for each foot. When you feel comfortable, put both fit on the wheel at the same time. This variation of the plank works on your core even more as you keep the balance on the wheel.
Supported Butterfly Pose is a reclined backbend. Start seated and lower your knees to the opposite ends to create butterfly wings. Your feet are touching each other. Recline back with the wheel and rest the wheel at the junction of your spine, neck and shoulders. Increase the intensity of the pose by clasping your hands together and stretching them overhead.
Yoga Wheel Splits
The yoga wheel can help beginners to get into a split pose or help more advanced practitioners to extend the split pose. Start with your knees on the ground, look forward and have the yoga wheel in front of you.
Bring one leg towards the wheel and gently rest it on the prop. As you move and roll with the wheel for support, your leg will stretch out further until it is straight. The Hanumanasana pose has now turned into an elevated split.
Yoga Wheel For Back Pain
The seated forward fold is a great pose for lower back pain and the yoga wheel is a great addition for anyone who has trouble with bending forward. Stay sitting upright on the mat and spread your legs apart. Put the yoga wheel in front of you and bend towards it. You can rest your head on the wheel and move the prop away from you when you feel more comfortable to go deeper into the stretch.
Try a shoulder stand with the yoga wheel to relive the lower back even more. This stretch also helps the neck and shoulders. Start seated upright and have the yoga wheel at your spine. Begin to roll back keeping the wheel at the lower end of your back. The rest of your body will move back down towards the mat. Keep going until your neck and top part of your shoulder are on the mat and your hips are facing the sky. Hold the wheel at the exterior – putting more pressure towards the back – and bring your legs up to the air for the pose.
Yoga Wheel For Hips
The Deep Hip Flexor stretch is for intermediate yogis. It will help loosen up the muscles in your inner thigh. Start standing with the yoga wheel placed to your side. Get down into a nice low squat with your arms pushing your knees out and your hands clasped together in front.
Remember to keep your back nice and straight. Lean over to one side and stretch out the leg closest to the wheel to rest on top. Bring your hands into prayer pose to help you keep the balance and your core tight.
The Best Yoga Wheel Brand Comparison
You are on Amazon looking for a yoga wheel but not sure which one to buy. Yoga Wheel brands have grown since the first Dharma Wheel. They come in a variety of patterns, styles and sizes. Do you need a yoga wheel that is 15 inches, 12 or 6? Which brand is the best one for you?
Plexus yoga wheel
This wheel is known for its durability and resilience. It comes in a pack of three different wheels that can each be used depending on the pose.
The three sizes are 12”, 10” and 6”. The width of the wheel is 5” – the perfect size to align with your spine.
It has a large weight capacity meaning anyone can use it without worrying about it breaking.
The top cover of the wheel is long-lasting and odor free. There is a spinal canal in the centre which creates a grove for your spine. On either side there is extra padding which your muscles roll over. This wheel is definitely in the higher price range.
Gaiam yoga wheel
The Gaiam Yoga Wheel has a great product for nature lovers and is priced mid-range. The eco wheel is made from premium cork and cushions the spine comfortably.
The cork provides a nice texture that is also non-slip. It is also anti-bacterial and odor free. The handcrafted wheel is 5” in width and the diameter is 12”.
UpCircleSeven yoga wheel
UpCircle is another brand that you will see pop up in your online search. They have a wide range of colours, patterns and styles at a reasonable price.
This brand offers cork material as well as others. The cork is known for being thick and durable.
When you order your wheel online, the company will also send you a handy note with how to’s and yoga poses for you to try out as a beginner which is always a nice touch!
Ivim yoga wheel
The Ivim Yoga Wheel is known to be one of the strongest in the market, able to hold a large weightload. Strong and sturdy, this yoga wheel is made from eco-friendly Foam ETP materials. The cushion also has an extra grip added onto it ensuring that you have full support while you get into those more complicated poses.
Mandala yoga wheel
This wheel created by Yoga Design is the most popular in terms of finishing. The mandala artwork on the wheel is intricate, detailed and minimal at the same time. It is made with padded cork and the mandala artwork is added to create a luxurious look. It is stylish, great quality and perfect as a gift to a loved one.
Nature’s Integrity yoga wheel
Enjoy your yoga poses with an extra thick padding and grip. Nature’s Integrity also provides a guide to yoga poses with the wheel as well as a lifetime guarantee on your purchase. The product is latex free and the TPE Foam used is anti-microbial and environmentally friendly. You can get these wheels in teal, pink and purple.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can’t go wrong with the Plexus or the Yoga design cork wheel. The plexus is great due to the ridge for the spine and the cushioning around the muscles. The Yoga Design cork wheel is also one of our favorites. It is eco-friendly, sturdy and looks amazing. It is more than a prop. Just place it anywhere in your home and it will turn into a decoration too.
This depends on the yoga poses. The standard size is 12 inches, but beginners can start with a smaller wheel. Just keep in mind that the smaller wheel handles a lighter weight. So if you are interested in backbends, go straight for the 12 inch.
Yoga wheels help you get into poses that relieve back pain. If you have a chronic condition, it is very important that you discuss yoga poses and using the wheel with your yogi teacher and physiotherapist.
Backbends help with opening the chest, lengthening the spine and realigning posture. Backbends must be done carefully and with supervision. Backbends that are not done properly can cause more damage than good. It is important to speak to professionals.
The wheel doesn’t help with specific muscles. It helps with accomplishing different types of yoga positions which are themselves focused on particular muscles within the body.
Sun salutations are a great way to warm up for deeper stretches and bends. Do three in a row without breaks to get your body pumping and get your muscles loose for the more flexible poses.