I have been wanting a yoga wheel for a while but I am taking my practice slowly and enjoying every minute of yoga so was happy to take my time purchasing all my yoga props. So….I finally purchased a yoga wheel. It was delivered by the time I got home from work tonight along with my favourite incense (the one that immediately sends me into a savasana like state of relaxation). Deliveries are exciting. New yoga toys are definitely exciting.
Why get a yoga wheel?
They are pretty popular as a yoga prop. Check out Instagram or Pinterest and you can see those yoga types using them for things like: forearm stands, locust, king pigeon, support in wheel, strengthening for abs, flexibility and even two wheels on each toes for splits.
I clearly am not at an advanced level of yoga. I find bridge pose hard and camel even harder (I don’t even get close to wheel). I think in my head that this is due to tight quads but I logically realise it is probably much more to do with my ability to open my chest, tight shoulders and work on my backbends. Yes my quads are tight…but without the ability to open the chest and shoulders I won’t achieve the type of poses I really want to work towards. A recent achievement of mermaid pose taught me this as we spent ages on opening the chest, back and side bends. I made it. I was ecstatic but I didn’t think I had made it (yoga is a journey and all that 🙂 ). I want to continue to progress towards king pigeon. I also would like to do bridge without the feeling that I just want to immediately drop my backside onto the floor. Yes I am aiming to get into wheel; in about 10 years if I am lucky. I am sure it was achievable when I was a child. What happened along the way?
So back to the yoga wheels. Forget all the amazing Insta photos. I just want to incorporate it into my practice. All the poses above are a bit beyond me at this time but the yoga wheel doesn’t only cater to advanced poses. It is actually a great beginner tool too!
Yoga Wheel for beginners
One of the best known benefits is for the back. Flexibility and, if you can manage it, strength. It also can aid in opening the shoulders and chest.
So this is my aim for the time being.
I was pretty surprised that yoga wheels are not very wide. How do people actually balance on it!!? After a double check on the internet though the one I got is pretty standard. All I can say is well done to those people who can balance whilst squatting on this little circle thing! I tried to put my feet up on it for plank and….well….I fell off. Not even a hint of wine at that point.
So having adjusted my expectations of what I can currently achieve I focused on the gentle stretching and opening that a yoga wheel can give.
Yoga wheel for backs
I sat with my feet in front (on the floor) and lifted my hips to roll the wheel up and down my back. I even opened up my arms to the floor to open my chest and attempted the hand grab (over head) of the wheel whilst in the same position.
What I found? Answer – my back is tight. I did have a really long week and Friday was a particularly long day. Its not as if I am sat at a desk all day but I drive for around 2 1/2 hours each day. This clearly takes its toll as even rolling over the wheel was difficult and initially a little uncomfortable.
But OMG it was bliss. Incense on, a bit of spine rolling and 20 minutes later I feel blissful. My back feels lighter somehow and I obviously realise the benefits of a yoga wheel for backs (back-ache, back pain, back flexibility).
So – I might be a beginner. I might also have expected to get it out the bag and immediately look like a yoga pro. I’m not. I am a beginner (this feels like a statement of my life at the moment despite being in my forties) and I am just bloody happy that I got to the weekend and feel great. The yoga wheel is going to feature now as a regular part of my practice.
This is the one I bought (amazon link, picture below). The one I originally fancied was much more expensive (amazon link) but looked fab. I managed to sensibly tell myself that I am a beginner so it shouldn’t be all about the looks! If you have one then let me know what kind of things you do with your yoga wheel. If you don’t have one then you are missing out. With my fabulously feeling back I am now going to float into the kitchen to get my wine. Hello weekend bliss!