Yoga wheel is a great tool to use whether you're a veteran yogi or just beginning your practice.
Here are a few yoga exercises you may want to try with a yoga wheel to deepen your stretches and flexibility.
Whether you use a yoga wheel regularly or are just curious about what all the fuss is about, giving a yoga wheel —also called a yoga disc or yoga roller — a try can help you experience it for yourself.
Five Yoga Exercises with Yoga Wheel
Here's a look at five such exercises:
1) Wheel-Assisted Child's Pose
The child's pose is a classic restorative pose that helps stretch the hips, thighs, and lower back in a gentle way.
If you use a yoga wheel during this pose, your arms will stretch out forward on top of the wheel's raised surface to help open up your shoulders and chest.
How to do it?
- Sit on your heels with the yoga wheel between your knees.
- Separate your knees so that they're about hip-distance apart, and place the yoga wheel between them.
- From a kneeling position, lean forward till your belly rests between your thighs, and your arms are stretched straight in front of you.
- Let your head and neck relax, resting your forehead on the mat. Hold for three breaths.
2) Reclining Easy Pose
The Easy Pose is a classic seated position that helps you develop calmness and concentration. The reclined version of the pose with the assistance of a yoga wheel can help open up your chest and relieve tension between the shoulders.
Here's how you do this pose:
- To start, sit tall in a comfortable position directly in front of the wheel.
- Cross your legs, and ground your pelvis into the floor.
- Place your hands on your knees with the palms facing up, and close your eyes.
- Breathe deeply, and slowly extend your spine over the top of the wheel.
- Rest your head on the top of it. Stay in this pose for five breaths, or as long as you like.
3) Wheel-Assisted Fish Pose
The Fish pose is a classic chest-opening backbend that stretches the pectoral and shoulder muscles. However, many people struggle to hold the pose on their own.
The yoga wheel provides an excellent way to combat that, giving those who can't do it on their own a deeper stretch in the chest and shoulders.
Here's how you do this exercise:
- Lying on the floor, keep your torso tall and extended, with your legs extended in front of you.
- Point your toes, and squeeze your inner thighs together.
- Place the wheel behind you so that it's aligned parallel with your spine, holding it lightly in place with your hands.
- As you inhale, reach your arms behind you, and open them wide.
- As you exhale, lean back over the wheel, extending your spine and relaxing your head, neck and shoulders.
- Allow the wheel to support and massage your spine. Hold for at least three breaths before returning to a seated position on the mat.
4) Wheel-Assisted Pyramid Pose
Tight hamstrings are common. Yoga poses like the seated forward fold, pyramid pose and standing forward fold can help stretch your hamstrings, but another option is the wheel-assisted half pyramid pose.
To do this exercise:
- Kneel with one knee on the ground. Keep your torso tall, and bring the yoga wheel under the thigh of the front leg so that the wheel touches your calf.
- Place your front foot on the wheel, and roll it forward with your hands so that the leg extends fully, resting your calf against the wheel at about ankle height.
- Flex your front foot; inhale deeply, and extend your spine as you exhale.
- Bend forward from the hips, reaching toward the wheel or your shins as you keep your back straight.
- Repeat several times before switching to the other side.
5) Wheel-Assisted Lizard Lunge Pose
The lizard lunge helps builds strength and stretches the hips, quads and hip flexors. The wheel-assisted lizard lunge offers an additional challenge by adding balance and a deeper stretch as you extend your back leg in line with your torso.
How to do it?
- To get into an L-shape pose, kneel on one knee with your other knee bent and foot flat on the mat.
- Place a yoga wheel under your foot at your ankle for support.
- Engage your core as you exhale, and lean forward, placing your hands on the mat under your shoulders to the inside of your front foot.
- While inhaling, press firmly into the wheel with your back foot, and as you exhale, lift your back knee from the ground.
- If you wish to, allow your front knee to fall outward for a deeper hip-opener.
- Hold the position for three to five breaths before releasing and switching sides.
The yoga wheel is a popular tool for deepening stretches, improving balance, and building strength.
Most forms of yoga, from Vinyasa to Bikram, become more effective by using it. The wheel can be used for strengthening as well.