YOGA GOALS: REINVENT YOUR WHEEL

When I was a girl I spent a lot of time upside down in wheel pose. It was natural, painless, and took no effort.

In practice as an adult, we would do relays, racing each other through the studio — and we had conversations while doing timed one-minute holds!

Being able to get into wheel pose became a key to my well being emotionally as well as physically. It just puts me in a more uplifted mood. And lord knows we need a little reprise and sunshine right now.

But then, after spending two years working with a shoulder impingement (not from yoga) I had to lay off my wheel obsession for a while and abstain.

When my shoulder finally got better, my wheels felt totally horrendous! My body was so tight, I could not even talk while holding the pose and couldn’t wait to come down.

The good news? The extreme tightness definitely gave me insight into what it might feel like for those who have always had a hard time with wheel for whatever reason. We all have our assets, and back bending may not be one of yours - you’re still a good person!

Feeling this tight in wheel for me was unusual, but it got me thinking — through my own struggles in getting back to a comfortable wheel — about how I could open my body back up gradually so it could get closer to that pose.

And so I’ve been teaching a practice specifically designed to work toward wheel pose, opening the chest, the triceps, and the fronts of the hips along the way.

My goal for all yoga enthusiasts is to be able to do wheel pose…and still be able to talk.

Why is this important? Why set it as a goal?

Wheel is one of yoga's quintessential back bends. It provides a gateway to other advanced back bends, but more importantly, even if you never get there, the prep work has amazing benefits on its own!

Whether you take this pose to its full expression, or continue to build a solid foundation, you will stand a little taller, feel a little freer, and move about the world with a more open heart.

More Benefits of Wheel Pose:

  • Better posture

  • Longevity in your spine

  • Spinal health

  • Uplifted mood

  • Generous heart

Preparation to Work Toward Wheel
Here are just a few of the kind of stretches and poses you’ll want to focus on in your practice to get closer to wheel pose.

Stretch the Triceps

 You can incorporate a tricep stretch in a standing pose like Warrior 2.

You can incorporate a tricep stretch in a standing pose like Warrior 2.

Open the Chest

 Cobra with your hands elevated on blocks is takes part of the weight off your arms so your shoulders and chest can open more easily.

Cobra with your hands elevated on blocks is takes part of the weight off your arms so your shoulders and chest can open more easily.

Open the Hip Flexors

 Poses that open the quads and hip flexors should be practiced almost daily if you want to have a wheel pose that doesn’t feel gripped with tightness!

Poses that open the quads and hip flexors should be practiced almost daily if you want to have a wheel pose that doesn’t feel gripped with tightness!

If you’re curious about pursuing wheel pose and the poses that will open your body up in the process, you might be interested in my program on YogaGlo.com: Reinvent Your Wheel!

This is a workshop-style program and will help you gradually work towards full wheel, using complimentary poses, props and modifications along the way. There are just three thirty minute classes that progress in level from 1/2 to 2 and you can choose to move forward at your own pace, repeating any of the practices as needed.

Overall I hope that you’re feeling more positive about working toward wheel pose! Leave a comment with your progress!.

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