- Massage the spine
The eco-friendly yoga wheel is an amazing tool to help reverse our culture of sitting and rounding the shoulders forward. Find a seat on the ground and bring the wheel directly behind you so that it connects with the low back and sacrum. With the feet planted, bring the arms overhead and breaths. Once your back has had enough, find child’s pose to counter the deep backside opening.
- Open the front side body
This to-do is the same positioning that I performed above. Except this time I want you to focus your breath and intention to the front side body. Do all of the above steps to get into the stretch. Once you’ve found an interesting place (somewhere that’s comfortable yet challenging), stay here and breathe. Let the arms drape down by your sides and allow the shoulders to soften and open. Try taking the legs long and allowing them to be heavy, letting the hip flexors soften and open. Let the belly completely stretch out here-think expansion and extension. Hang out here for as long as it’s comfortable, then find child’s pose.
- Assist in deep backbends
Backbends are tough, like scary tough. Often times, if you weren’t a cheerleader, ballerina, or gymnast-backbends can feel inaccessible and unattainable. This is where the fitness yoga wheel really shines as it makes the impossible, possible. For this photo, I demonstrated a deeper version of camel pose that is practiced in the Ashtanga series. Come into a hero seated pose, with the legs folded back behind you. Bring the wheel to the low back/sacrum area and secure the bottom of the wheel with both hands. Take a big inhale breath to find length and on an exhale breath, begin to lower your back onto the wheel. Finding your deepest variation will require a few rounds of inhalations and exhalations (lengthening and opening).
Once you find your edge, bring the hands overhead and clasp the bottom of the wheel that’s closest to your head. Begin to walk your hands further down the wheel and maybe bring the forearms to rest on the ground too. Stay here for a few rounds of breath, then slowly reverse your movements. Take child’s pose to counter the deep backbend. You can also use the wheel to access deeper variations of backbends in poses like forearm balance. Below is an inspiration pic, I won’t go into the actual posture. This is an advanced posture that should be practiced with caution and experience-please be safe!
- Aid in flexibility
Aside from the stretching and heart opening aspects, the wheel can also double as a flexibility tool. Below is a simple way to help stretch the hamstrings and find a deeper variation of paschimottanasana.
On an inhale breath, bring arms overhead and find length in the spine. On an exhale breath, fold forward and clasp hands around the wheel. Use the wheel as a pulley system to help slowly deepen and soften into the pose. Remember-hinge from your hips, keep the quads engaged & knee caps slightly lifted, and feet flexed. Take a few breaths here and then release.
- Challenge/Strengthen your balance
Finally, the yoga balance wheel can help challenge and strengthen your balance. I’ve seen yogis do some crazy poses on these wheels and they make it look so easy! I’m here to tell you-it’s freaking hard but also so fun to try! You can browse yoga wheels at buy-yoga.