Over the thousands of years that yoga has been practiced across the globe, many changes have taken place. While in the beginning yoga was mainly a philosophy and way of living, today it has transformed into a popular physical practice.
There are countless of asanas (poses) in the yoga wheel house today, and yet new poses are still created to this day. There are also numerous styles of yoga – ranging from yin and restorative to vinyasa, hatha, power, and so on. With all the various styles, we have also seen an introduction of different props.
In addition to the typical props (blocks, bolsters, and blankets), you may have noticed a circular looking prop in your studio as of lately – the Yoga Wheel. It’s a backbend challenged yogi’s dream when it comes to practicing inversions! It has been specifically designed to align the spine, open the chest, relax the back muscles, stretch the hip flexors, and offer support during your practice in so many other ways. It can also be used in a wide range of poses, from the splits to the heroes pose, headstand, shoulder stand, bridge, wheel…the list can go on and on.
“It can also be used in a wide range of poses, from the splits to the heroes pose, headstand, shoulder stand, bridge, wheel…”
For now, let’s focus on some of the top benefits of the yoga wheel and why you should incorporate it into your everyday practice.
Why this Yoga Prop?
As we discussed briefly, yoga props are designed to add to your practice and they shouldn’t be looked as a crutch or items only used by beginners. In fact, the sign of a true yogi is one who will listen to their body and use these aids to support themselves, regardless of whether they are working on backbends, seated poses, twists, or common standing poses. This remains true despite if you are practicing a more restorative style or a movement-based type of yoga, like Ashtanga, Bikram, and Vinyasa.
“The sign of a true yogi is one who will listen to their body and use these aids to support themselves, regardless of whether they are working on backbends, seated poses, twists, or common standing poses.”
As yoga continues to transform and evolve, so have the props. One of our favorite props today is the Yoga Wheel. Not only is it extremely versatile to meet your yoga needs, but it adds a whole new dimension to your practice. You may find yourself stretching and strengthening muscles you did not know you previously had!
As with any yoga prop providing assistance or variety to your routine, always remember to practice with safety and remain in proper alignment. The yoga wheel is an incredible yoga accessory that can help you deepen your practice while getting you into those difficult inversion poses safely.
“The yoga wheel is an incredible yoga accessory that can help you deepen your practice while getting you into those difficult inversion poses safely.”
Here are the Top 7 Benefits of using a UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheel:
1) It Makes Challenging Poses Possible
One major benefit of integrating the yoga wheel into your everyday practice is that it makes challenging backbends much more easily attainable. You can safely ease into an inversion and make slow natural progress rather than abruptly forcing a backbend movement that exceeds your currently level of flexibility. Despite your current level of experience, it is a wonderful prop for both beginners and advanced practitioners alike.
2) You Can Individualize Your Practice
The word “challenging” is subjective to each yoga practitioner because we all have our strengths and weaknesses on top of each of our unique physical proportions. The Yoga Wheel can assist your practice by helping you work with your current flexibility limitations. It can be used for practicing big backbends like the wheel and hero poses down to the full expression of pigeon and bridge. Just take your pick.
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3) It Encourages Core Work
As every yogi knows, the secret to a long-lasting yoga practice is a strong core. When it comes to protecting the lower back and spine, a strong core is an absolute must. A strong core is not only made up of the larger muscle groups but the tiny accessory muscles and stabilizer muscles. It is the development of all those muscles combined and working in unasyn to perfect those difficult asanas performed by advanced practitioners. By using the yoga wheel during balancing poses like the Tree, Eagle, One-Legged Mountain Pose, and even the Plank, you will begin developing a much stronger core.
4) It Provides Stability
Many backbends along with countless other poses require stability and strength, both of which the Yoga Wheel can help with. You can use it to supplement your balance while leaning backwards into the all challenging backbend or use it as support during poses like the Bridge.
The stability it provides offers the needed support and for safety while your muscles are becoming trained and you are familiarizing yourself with the movement.
5) It Helps With Endurance
Depending on your current level of experience, the Yoga Wheel can help you stay in the those backbends longer. It is imperative to hold the pose for a sufficient amount of time for the benefits of the posture to settle in. The Yoga Wheel assists your muscles as they fatigue during the poses allowing you to build your stamina to eventually improve your endurance.
6) It Is Great for Inversions
The Yoga Wheel truly shines in its ability to help practitioners improve their inversions. It often provides them the confidence to practice those pesky backbends knowing that they have the safety and assistance of the prop. The Yoga Wheel is a must have especially for those with a fear of injury during inversions because fear of back injury is common amongst long time yoga practitioners.
7) It Is Versatile
The Yoga Wheel isn’t just used for active poses such as the backbends and inversions like mentioned above, it can also be used in meditation and more restorative poses. If you tend to fall asleep while meditating (it happens to the best of us!) the yoga wheel can be used against the wall or a partner to keep the spine upright and your entire body receptive to energy. Lastly, a bonus benefit is that it doubles as a back massage tool as it can do wonders for releasing tension from tight achy muscles.
There are many more great benefits of the Yoga Wheel and countless ways to incorporate it into your practice. Remember though, Yoga is all about challenging yourself, stepping outside of your comfort zone, and finding new and different ways to be your best yourself.
With the yoga wheel, you can do just that and more!
Want to read more?
Learn step-by-step yoga poses you can do with the yoga wheel in this blog favorite post!