We are all in love with yoga wheels and for good reason — they help us stretch deeper, allowing us to release tension in hard access areas.
They can add to the intensity of particular yoga postures and exercises, helping us to build stamina and even strength in some cases. Here are a few ideas to play with.
1. Spinal Stretch
Lay over your yoga wheel with it centered at your middle back and bring your arms out to the side. Allow your head to hang back, naturally increasing the spinal stretch.
2. Thread the Needle
Take Thread the Needle and place your extended hand on the top of your wheel to entice a deeper shoulder-opener.
3. High Lunge
Come into a high lunge and place your back shin on the wheel to intensify the balance aspect and to create a deeper stretch across your back leg while strengthening your front thigh.
4. Plank Pose
Try some mountain climbers by coming into a Plank position (on hands or forearms) with your feet on the wheel. Then one leg at a time, pull your knee into your nose or matching elbow.
Take those mountain climbers one step further and try to roll the wheel in as you pull your knee in. You can do this by slowly stacking your hips over your shoulders, and maybe even lifting the back foot off the wheel for a moment in Handstand, before coming back to the original position.
6. Forward Fold
From a seated position, place the wheel under your calf muscles and take a deep forward fold with your hands on the wheel to pull you deeper.
7. Side Angle Pose
Take pyramid, or Side Angle pose and hold the wheel in your arms. Lift your upper body to become parallel with the ground. Try to keep your arms around your ears and maintain a straight line from your hips to your hands.
8. Child’s Pose
Take Child’s pose with your knees wide and place both hands on the wheel at the front of your mat. Keep your head down and roll the wheel forward slowly as you press your chest to the ground for a deep heart and shoulder opening stretch.
9. Down Dog to Handstand
Practice lifting up to handstand from a short version of Down Dog. Simply bring your wheel up against a wall and place your forehead on it. Press into it until you can hover your feet up off the ground.
10. Crow Pose / Firefly Pose
Try to find your Crow or Firefly pose on the wheel by gripping your fingers over the edge of the wheel, hands turned slightly out. Bring one knee up to your upper arms at a time and experiment with where to place your weight to stay balanced. Slowly and gradually, try to bring both knees up.
11. Revolved Side Angle
Deepen your split and your twist by taking Revolved Side Angle with your back knee down and your front foot on the wheel. Lean the hips forward and lift your heart up.
12. Boat Pose
Come to Boat pose with the wheel in your hands. Pass it to your feet and slide your legs and torso down to raft or Low Boat so that your body is almost flat to the ground. Lift back up to Boat and pass the wheel back to your hands. Repeat!
These are just a few out of the many, many ways you can incorporate a yoga wheel into your practice. Have your own ideas? Share them below!
Image credit: Alissa