12 Ways to Use Your Yoga Wheel
Intro to the yoga wheel:
- what is it?
- what do you do with it?
- do you need it?
- where do you get one?
High Plank to Low Plank
I have been very inspired to incorporate this awesome tool into my practice…so many ways to use it. Here’s a #highplank to #lowplank move…talk about a strength builder, when it’s done with good alignment. Shoulders up, abs in, strong legs, head in a straight line, BREATHE….Whew!!
Supported Side Plank with Oblique Work
Here’s a new little core/oblique exercise on the #yogawheel that is pretty fun. You really need to engage through the midsection to make sure you don’t roll off! Started off kneeling next to the wheel, lean onto the wheel with the right hip, and place your right hand down into a #sideplank arm, grounding down into the mat. Stage 1 would be just to extend the left leg straight with the foot on the floor and extend the top arm up. Then from this lovely #supported Side Plank, SLOWLY bend your left knee and hold onto your big toe with your left #peace fingers. Extend the top leg toward straight into #Vasisthasana. Inhale and hold here, and then with your exhale, take the top leg out in front of you. Inhale and take your leg back up toward the sky. Repeat 5x. Stay engaged and strong! The wheel really helps you keep the hips high and to get feedback on whether your hips are square or not. Feels great. Then do the other side…you can come into #Downdog between sides and rest your forehead on the wheel for an extra rest. Fun stuff!
Dolphin Side Plank Oblique Crunch
Playing with #DolphinSidePlank Oblique Crunch today, and incorporated it into a small part of the opening flow I learned from @omfairy. This modified version of #Vasisthasana on the forearm takes the pressure off the wrists while still strengthening the core. Adding an oblique crunch (8x) and extending the leg makes for an extra challenge. Great for focusing the MIND too, while trying to stay balanced. I added a little side drape over the wheel to relax and stretch after each side.
Then headed into a #FloatingTriangle flow. This float I find to be extremely challenging even without a wheel to hold up!! Watch the weight of the wheel, make your legs strong and don’t hyper-extend the knees if you’re prone to that as you hinge over. I played with using the wheel under my bottom hand for a #Supported #Trikonasana too. Then it was onto a wide-legged forward fold #PasaritaPadotonasana and into a #Headstand holding the wheel. It’s amazing how much stability you can get in the shoulders for headstand while holding and PULLING BACK on the wheel to engage the muscles in the upper back. Make sure you have a stable headstand practice away from the wall before trying this one, or just rest the wheel under your forearms or forehead and chill out.
Warrior 3, On Top of the Wheel
Yes, I’m crazy, standing on this #yogawheel in Warrior 3. I opted for supporting the wheel with 2 blocks, though I saw many examples of brave souls doing it free form, just on the wheel! I liked this a lot. It felt supportive and was a challenge for the core and legs to find balance! And…I believe in baby steps and taking challenges on a little at a time. It’s been fun to try all these new things this week!!
Here is a #yogawheel version of #Warrior3 or#VirabhadrasanaIII I like coming into this from a #Supported #HighLunge with the wheel under the back thigh. It really helps me lift up through the back leg. Then coming forward into a supported Warrior 3 helps get some stability going. Now here comes the hard part…lifting the wheel up out in front with arms straight. As @sheriesloane_yoga says, “Add the weight of the wheel and the holding, and you got yourself a very powerful, dynamic posture that creates stability throughout the entire body, integrating all of the muscles throughout your #core, #arms and #legs. This is also a great pose to strengthen the back of the body, shoulders, hamstrings, calves and ankles.” See her post for full instructions on this pose. It’s a good one!
I am loving the #yogawheel for giving some assistance in inversions. I’ve been working on #ForearmStand for a loooonnnnggg time, and occasionally, I can get balance, which is always a yeehaw kind of moment. Today I took all my previous internal mantras for this pose (there are a lot…belly in, hips square, push forearms down, BREATHE, etc, etc, etc), and added the help of the wheel, holding onto it. When I leaned forward, I could kinda rest my the back of my head into the wheel and get an added sense of stability. Then, I actually found balance! (not the first time…I bailed out a few times…it’s important to know how to fall!!). When practicing this one, you can also do One-Legged#Dolphin #PushUp or#EkaPadaMakarasana. Here are instructions from @sheriesloane_yoga –> “From#TablePose, place your forearms on the ground shoulder-width apart and hold on to the sides of your #yogawheel. Tuck your toes, and lift your hips into dolphin. Take a breath here, then lengthen your right leg high to a dolphin split, with right foot in dorsiflexion (or lengthening form the ball mounts of the foot, rather than pointing the toes) to engage your legs. Start to reach your forehead to your wheel on an inhale, coming almost to a forearm plank but not quite, holding the pose on an exhale, then for 1-3 breaths. Do 5 reps on one side. Rest in child’s pose for 3 breaths, then repeat with the other side.” Using the#yogawheel in this pose might feel cumbersome at first as it somewhat restricts the usual movements we’re used to do in traditional dolphin. You’ll notice however that you’ll need to engage more of your core, rather than pushing more with your forearms, to stabilize, balance and lengthen your spine and legs. You don’t have to go all the way to forearm inversion. Just stay in one legged dolphin, holding it for couple of breaths before switching side.
This #Locust Variation or #Salabhasana was definitely challenging with the addition of the wheel lift. These belly down backbends are pretty “ungratifying” (in Christina’s words), but they are very good for stregthening the back chain of the body. And holding onto the wheel was, even without the lift, a good challenge, and a nice way to encourage the arms to externally rotate more in the shoulder socket. To get into position, lie down with your feet wide and the wheel between your legs. Then bend your knees to bring the wheel closer, reach back and hold either side of the #yogawheel (you could also use a strap). Taking the feet wide and pressing all 10 toes down to the floor and then hugging the inner ankles in toward the midline so the feet are strongly aligned, and pressing the pelvis down strongly, belly in, is the first step. Then lift the shoulders up away from the earth, lift the chest, and hold for 1-3 breaths. Inhales take you a little higher. Then lower and rest. Repeat 2 more times…option to lift the legs up too.
#yogarollcore #bellydownbackbends #dharmayogawheel #strong
Adding on to the bellydown backbend in the last post (#Locust), this is a fabulous pose on the #yogawheel … #Peacock Pose or#Mayurasana . You really have to work on keeping everything strong and active, just as you would without the help of the wheel, even though the wheel does make this pose more accessible. I did a fair amount of #wrist warmup and #forearm stretching before doing this one…see the upcoming video for that work. When you’re playing with this, be careful you don’t roll over your fingers!! I had my hands about 6 inches apart (not pinkies together, as you might practice this) to compensate for that. The lift felt really natural once I got there…a real superwoman feeling.
#yogarollcore #bellydownbackbends #armbalance #dharmayogawheel #strong
Here’s a fun variation of #BoatPose or #Navasana using the #yogawheel. One of the most well known yoga pose for #core #strength, Navasana makes me feel challenged, strong, and a little humble as I try to find the sitbones, lift up through the heart, and keep the legs strong. For this variation, start by holding the sides of the yoga wheel and press the big toes on the inside of your wheel. Keep the shins parallel to the floor or stretch the legs up toward straight. Then Release one hand and stretch the arm up alongside your ear, and then float the leg on that same side off the wheel, bending the knee and keeping shin horizontal. Hug everything to the midline, and hold for 3 breaths. Then try the other side. #Video to come in an upcoming post!
Double Straight Leg Reach
Here’s some core work with Double Straight Leg Reach or a Variation of #ViparitaKarani, commonly known as #LegsUp on the Wall Pose. According to @sheriesloane_yoga, “This pose tones the abdominals, but its biggest benefit is working the entire #core and its 4 layers (rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques and transverse abdominis), hip flexors, spine extensors, hip adductors & abductors (which includes the glutes). Adding the #yogawheel gives us the bonus of strengthening the arms. This pose also help regulate blood flow in the body, relieve tired feet, legs & mild backache, and improves concentration.” .
Lie on your back with legs straight up, and arms up holding the wheel. A practical tip with this one is to make sure you have a strong grip on the wheel with your hands so you don’t drop it on your face! With a breath out, curl the shoulders up, reaching the wheel up, and repeat 10x. After this core work, you’ll be well prepared for the arm balance…coming up in the next post.
#yogarollcore #yogapose #dharmayogawheel #armbalance #strong #breathe #yogachallenge #getonyourmat #discipline
Two flavors of #Bakasana or #Crow Pose using the #yogawheel!! The first, I learned from @omfairy, and starts in #Malasana or #Yogic #Squat. Place your hands in front of you, gaze forward, lift your hips high, and then snuggle your knees as far up around your upper arms as you can. Engage the #core, and then carefully place the top of one foot on the top of the wheel (you may have to look back BRIEFLY to find the wheel). Then look back forward so your gaze is in a tripod shape with your hands, and then lift the other foot up onto the wheel. Push the hands down, draw the belly in, BREATHE. I love this variation, as it gives an opportunity to feel what it’s like to have the shins more parallel to the floor.
The second variation is a One Armed Bakasana, and this one is very challenging! I had to play with this one several times, and I really had to think about where my #balance was, where I could find a tripod shape, and to go very slowly into this. It was pretty #fun. Start with the wheel more between your hands than behind, and bring one knee to the middle the wheel. Then bring the other knee high up to the outer arm, or even into the armpit. Here’s where it gets really tricky. See if you can pick up your opposite arm (the one your knee is NOT resting one) and take a half bind with that arm. You may have to put your opposite foot down on the ground while you play with it. Have fun!! And if you fall, no worries…just try again. Hug into the #midline, and breathe with this.
Then take a little #backbend over the wheel as a #counterpose. Enjoy!! Video is coming up!! #coordination #strong #yogarollcore #yogachallenge #dharmayogawheel #armbalance #calm #steady #play #dowhatyoucan
12-min Yoga Wheel Flow Practice
Got the #yogawheel out today and played around! Now that I’ve learned how to move this baby around a little bit, it’s been really fun to incorporate it into my #practice. This short #flow took me about 12 minutes. (See the sped up video on my Facebook Page). Spending about 3 breaths in each pose is generally the way I practice vinyasa, so that’s my pace.
I started with some forward folds in Sukasana, Double Pigeon, and Baddha Konasana, then shifted to Child’s Pose. Then I did a Side Plank variation on each side, getting some length along the side body with a reach of the top arm over the ear. Next was a Core Plank using the wheel for support under the bottom leg…a really nice way to feel that knee hugging in, between the elbows. I found a nice way to give myself a thigh massage with the wheel with the wheel under my back thigh in a High Lunge. Then a couple move to transition to forward fold and up to standing.
Next I played with stepping ONTO the wheel!! I learned a little of this from @omfairy, and her tip to line up the knee over the ankle when coming into Warrior 2 with the front foot on the wheel is key. This is a LOT of work for the legs!!! Then I moved into Extended Side Angle, and even played with a bind. It’s quite challenging to keep the balance here, so if you’re practicing, go slow and move carefully!! I ended with a lovely upper back opening to a Kapotasana variation to smooth things out, and then rested in a Supine Baddha Konasana leaning back, hands to heart.
This is a pretty nice way to get into Full Wheel, or Urdhva Dhanurasana. I would try this with someone to help you if your not comfortable pressing all the way up, because it can be a bit iffy coming back down onto the #yogawheel. But it does give you a way to work on how to bring the shoulders more onto the back before pushing up, and you have less of a distance to lift up from the wheel. Pretty fun!! #day3 #getwickedomtober #dharmayogawheel #hotelyoga #haveyogawilltravel #backbend #urdhvadhanurasana #fullwheel #wheelpose #yoga
Royal Pigeon. This is a recycled post from about a month ago when I first tried this, but I’ll incorporate this again into my practice tomorrow and see how it goes. Trickier than it looks to keep the balance!
soooo tricky to get the foot clasp and keep my balance with the thigh on the #yogawheel!! I had to hold onto the side of my hotel bed while I reached back for my foot!! Lots of variations on this Royal Pigeon hand clasp. I feel so open now!
“Body is the bow, asana is the arrow, & the soul is the target.” BKS Iyengar
Natarjasana or Dancer’s Pose!! I took a little video to show how hard this is…I definitely recommend a wall! I really liked this with the wheel, actually, and tried the hand clasp lying on the belly first in Eka Pada Bekhasana, which was a good prep and helped me figure it out before trying to balance on one leg! Dancer’s Pose is such a hard pose for me, and I was actually really pleased with how it went with the wheel! If you don’t have a #yogawheel, use a strap…you can get the same effect. Once I got into the posture, I felt stable and open…a least for a fleeting moment!!!
Urdhva D, Eka Pada Version
Urdhva Danurasana, Eka Pada version. I’ll post a video shortly for how I approached this…I tend to get hamstring cramps if I don’t engage the back of the leg before doing this like this, so I was careful with that. I really enjoyed being able to push the top of my foot on the wheel down into the wheel to get more lift in my chest. Felt great!
#wildthing!! I really liked this version of Wild Thing, and even straight Side Plank. Stabilizing the wheel with 2 blocks is a good variation and made this feel much more supported for my shoulder.
Cow Pose Variation
.#Cow variation! This was fun to try out, and I’m again using blocks on either side of the wheel to make this more accessible!!! Trust me, this was still a challenge. I held on with both hands and got my bottom knee in place while I extended the back leg back and found my balance. Then I tried reaching the opposite arm out long. Go slow!! One side was definitely harder for me.
#TigerPose with the #wall for support Took me awhile to figure this one out. I found it really frustrating and difficult to keep my balance when I practiced this earlier on the day. Then after class tonight, after teaching some glorious backbends, I got the idea to use this lovely wall for support. Much better!!!
#Splits!! So…I didn’t feel like going for full Hanumanasana or Full Splits with the #yogawheel was at ALL a safe option for me, so I practiced a variation of Ardha Hanumanasana or Half Splits. It was lovely. Here are 3 versions, all slightly different. Hello, hamstrings!
Twisted Wide-Legged Forward Fold
Big twist with the #yogawheel in a Pasarita Padottonasana. Felt great after birthday yoga with @jennifer_tobenourished at @lumayoga this morning, in between classes. And a nice counter pose to lots of backbends of late 🙏😛 Thanks, Jen, for being photographer and teacher this morning…I love flowing with you!!! And…looking at this picture makes me realize what’s going on with my hips! Always learning!!!
.#ChinStand! Wow, I haven’t practiced this pose for quite a long time, but it felt pretty good! I have been doing lots of core and back strengthening lately, and that definitely helped me here. I actually think I might prefer #blocks under the shoulders over the #yogawheel for this one, but I still appreciated and enjoyed the nudge to practice this one today. I’ll post a video of my practice on Facebook (Robin Penney Yoga), so head over there to check it out. Block version is in there! If you’ve never tried this, I’d recommend practicing with a teacher. Be safe and be brave!
I hope these tips help you to enjoy and use your Yoga Wheel. It’s pretty awesome.