heel Pose is that crazy fun shape you got into as a kid with no concerns in the world and where it was simply fun to make everyone upside down. In the practice of yoga of course we learn that Wheel Pose is a great heart-opening pose that allows us to press away from the earth with our hands and feet and arch fully extended nearly like no other pose out there.
This is a pose that teeters between the intermediate and advanced categories and is definitely a posture requiring a fair amount of back warm ups in order to ensure you can move your body into position without injury.
What is Wheel Pose?
While some consider Wheel Pose to be a beginners pose it’s really an advance from Bridge Pose and requires a fair amount of flexibility and strength. The Sanskrit for Wheel Pose is Urdhva Dhanurasana and the pose itself is considered a part of the backbend variety.
What are the benefits of Wheel Pose?
Some of the more obvious benefits of wheel pose include mobility of the spine and increased balance while upside down and inverted. The more subtle and less obvious benefits of Wheel Pose are that because it’s a chest opener and in such a vulnerable position Wheel Pose is playful and innocent and as mentioned above allows us to connect to a more fearless and open part of ourselves similar to that we felt in our youth.
How do you get into Wheel Pose?
From the position of lying on your back these are the steps to get into Wheel Pose.
- Exhale and bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet in towards your hips and keep them flat on the mat.
- Bring your hands overhead placing them onto the mat with your fingertips pointing towards the front of the mat and your feet.
- Inhale and press from your feet and palms lifting your hips and shoulds off of the mat into the air and arching your spine. (be gentle as your do this press and make sure your spine is warmed up first)
- Exhale and align your feet to ensure they’re under your knees and bring your gaze behind you (upside down)
- Inhale and lift your chest slightly further upwards and back and hold while you continue breathing
(to come out of this pose gentle lower your hips to the ground, releasing your hands from behind you and then extending your legs)
Wheel Pose with Name and Picture
See the below image for an example of wheel pose when the yogi is in their final position after having followed the steps.