If you don’t already own a yoga wheel, you’ve surely at least seen them used by other yogis. The yoga wheel is a popular prop because it’s fun, challenging, and extremely versatile. Additionally, yoga wheels offer tons of extra health benefits when incorporated into your practice. You can use this prop to gain flexibility, mobility, strength, and stability.
Below are 5 key ways you can use a yoga wheel in your daily yoga routine.
1. Spinal Massage and Mobility
Give your spine some love with a yoga wheel! Have you ever used a block or a bolster beneath your spine for a supported heart opener? Take that great feeling, and then multiply it with a yoga wheel that’s round and can move with the contours of your spine.
With that added benefit of movement, you can massage the spine by rolling the wheel up and down the length of your spinal column. Or, if you’re looking more for a backbend, find a static hold with the center/upper part of your spine on the wheel. This stretch is a great way to counteract the negative effects of our sedentary lifestyle.
From a seated position, bring the yoga wheel to the base of your spine and keep your feet planted as you gently begin to roll your spine up and onto the wheel. From here, you can play around with slowly rolling forward and back to get the full effects of a spinal massage.
2. Stretch and Lengthen Full Body
The same position featured in number 1 can be the foundation for other uses too. From there, roll the wheel onto the upper spine and then reach the hands up and back to grab onto the wheel behind your head. This is a great way to stretch and open the shoulders, as well as release tension in the head, neck, and upper spine.
You can also try a variety of different yoga poses to target specific areas of the body:
Low Lunge with the wheel either beneath the front thigh for a supported hamstring stretch, or supporting the lifted back shin for a quad stretch.
Reclining Butterfly Pose is a gentle hip opener, and the effects are amplified using the wheel to experience a nice heart opening backbend. From a seated position, bring the bottoms of your feet to touch. Bring the yoga wheel to your low back and gently recline onto the wheel. Rest your arms down by your side, palms up.
Reclining Hero Pose is a deeper way to open the front body, find a backbend, and stretch into the quads, knees, and ankles. Bring your knees hip-width distance apart (spread them wider to make this pose gentler, or closer together to deepen). Bring your seat down in between your heels as you roll your spine onto the wheel and stretch your arms beyond your head.
3. Strengthen and Tone Full Body
There are a lot of fun and dynamic ways to move with your yoga wheel to strengthen and tone full body. You can target specific parts of the body, like the core, glutes, and legs, or you can focus on the upper or lower body as a whole. There’s a wide range of options, but we’ll cover a few key moves here:
Core and upper body can be targeted simultaneously when you come into a modified Plank Pose with both shins on the yoga wheel. From there, simply roll the wheel forward as you bring your body into a pike-like position, and then roll the wheel back into full plank. Repeat to strengthen and tone abs, arms, and chest.
Glutes and lower body can also be targeted with a yoga wheel. From a standing position, bring the wheel to face your right inner ankle, and step your left foot longways onto the wheel. As you roll it away from your ankle, bend into the front knee and keep the glutes engaged. This will strengthen glutes, quads, calves and ankles.
4. Improve Balance and Stability
Balance has a lot to do with core stability and all the little stabilizing muscles in the body. Yoga wheels can definitely help cultivate the strength and stability you need for balance! Many poses and exercises that you would do normally can be enhanced with a yoga wheel to cultivate even more balance, stability, and agility.
Malasana Pose (or Yogi Squat) is a challenging strengthening pose by itself, but on a yoga wheel, you are cultivating strength, agility, and balance simultaneously.
Toe Stand is another fun pose to try on the yoga wheel. By itself, this pose takes balance and stability, but adding the yoga wheel brings much more body awareness to the parts you need to engage and strengthen.
5. Deepen Your Yoga Practice Overall
Yoga wheels are a great support system as you work to deepen your yoga practice. From this article, we know yoga wheels can support us in backbends, cultivate more flexibility and balance, and also strengthen and tone full body.
The yoga wheel combines strength and flexibility for a full mind-body challenge – and workout. Get creative and explore the ways you can incorporate a yoga wheel into your favorite yoga poses, stretches, and exercises.