Looking for something new for your yoga practice? Try these 5 fun yoga poses you can do with a yoga wheel…
You’ve had that yoga wheel on your wishlist for a while, and you finally got it for Christmas – so now what do you do with it? As with most yoga props, you can actually use a yoga wheel for quite a few different purposes in your yoga practice, from providing support during tricky poses, to deepening your favorite stretch.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be an advanced student to use a yoga wheel. In fact, yoga wheels can be very helpful for beginners in helping to improve both strength and flexibility. There are quite a few options to choose from these days, but all yoga wheels function the same, although the size or materials might vary slightly. Most yoga wheels are about 12″ in diameter, and 5-6″ wide. They are usually made of plastic, with either a cork or foam padding to cushion the outer surface and allow for easy, non-slip gripping.
If you’re ready to try out your fun new prop, here are a few poses you can do with a yoga wheel:
1. Lunge Pose
Take your lunge to the next level with a yoga wheel. A rolling lunge will strengthen your hamstrings, and help stretch your hip flexors.
To do this pose, stand with the yoga wheel behind you. Place the top of your right foot on top of the yoga wheel. Inhale, press your right foot gently into the yoga wheel and roll it back. As you roll, your front knee will bend into a lunge. Exhale and roll the wheel forward. Do this 10 times on each side.
During a rolling lunge, make sure your front leg is stable. Keep your knee directly over your ankle and don’t let it fall to the side.
2. Half Pyramid Pose
If you have tight hamstrings, try doing pyramid pose with a yoga wheel. Half Pyramid can stretch your hamstrings and help you build up to poses like full splits.
Kneel on your mat. Place your right foot on the mat, with your right knee at a 90° angle. Set the yoga wheel under your right leg. The top of the wheel should be under your thigh and the front of the wheel will be against the back of your calf.
Slowly peel your right foot off the mat, so your right leg is lifted. With your calf on top of the yoga wheel, roll the yoga wheel forward until your right leg is straight. The wheel should be close to your ankle now. Flex your right foot.
Straighten your spine and take a deep inhale. Fold your torso over your right leg, keeping your back flat. Reach your hands forward as far as they go–to your right thigh, shin, or ankle. Stay here for three to five breaths.
To come out of the pose, lift your torso upright. Bend your right knee so the yoga wheel rolls towards you. Remove the yoga wheel and repeat on the other side.
3. Child’s Pose
Use a yoga wheel in a child’s pose to deepen the stretch in your upper body. This can be great for tight shoulders and arms.
Start by kneeling on the mat with your big toes touching and knees spread wide. Set the yoga wheel in front of you so it can roll down the mat. Sink your hips back to touch your feet and put your hands on the yoga wheel. Roll the wheel forward as you drape your torso over your thighs.
Lengthen your spine as you roll the yoga wheel forward. Stop once you can comfortably rest your belly on your thighs. You should feel a nice stretch through your armpits, chest, and shoulders.
Relax over the yoga wheel and stay in the pose for five to ten breaths.
4. Reclined Butterfly
Yoga wheels are great props to help relieve upper back tension. In Supported Reclined Butterfly, you can stretch out your upper back and inner thighs at the same time.
Start in a comfortable seat on your mat. Set the yoga wheel behind you so it is aligned with your spine. Touch the soles of your feet together so your legs make a diamond or butterfly shape.
Place your hands on your thighs with your palms facing up. On an exhale, lean back onto the yoga wheel. Allow your upper back and neck to relax onto the yoga wheel. The yoga wheel will support your spine and deepen the relaxation. Sink into the pose and feel a nice stretch in your inner thighs.
Hold the pose for ten breaths. Take a deep inhale and slowly come back to a seated position.
5. Wheel Pose
Full wheel is an advanced backbend. It can be challenging to do, but using a yoga wheel will help you build up to it. Use the yoga wheel to add support and stability to your spine.
Start seated, with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Set the yoga wheel behind you so it is in line with your spine. Lean back against the wheel and let your back drape over it. Exhale and press through your heels to lift your hips. Bring your arms over your head and place your hands on the mat by your ears.
Allow the wheel to support your upper body. Engage through your glutes and thighs. Press firmly into your palms. Stay here for three to five breaths.
To come out of the pose, lower your hips back to the mat. On an inhale, slowly roll up to seated. Repeat two more times.
Find more ideas at YogaPractice.com…