I don’t know about you, but I love backbends.
There is something about the inside-out feeling of bending my body in this way provides such a release (and relief!) for me. It didn’t come naturally, though, and it took some practice and mental focus to overcome the fear I had around opening my back and my body. Then, once I was clear and trusting that backbends were actually GOOD for me, my body had to catch up with my mind. There was years and years of tightness and patterns to work through (still working through, by the way), a journey which is as much emotional as it is physical. This disciplined practice of yoga asana (hatha yoga) is all about FREEDOM and that is what this pose has taught me the most – freedom in my body and in my thoughts and emotions.
Hi, my name is Lindsay and I’m a Hatha Yogi.
Here I am in Chakrasana, Wheel Pose at Weaverville Yoga in Weaverville, NC
Benefits of Wheel Pose:
- -Strengthens the wrists and arms as well as the legs, glutes (your yoga butt!) and spine.
- -Stretches the whole front of the body, the front of the hips, the chest and shoulders.
- -Great for an energy boost (Try Skull Shining Breath while in this pose. It’s like drinking 12 cups of coffee – seriously!).
- -Counteracts depression (I wrote about this here).
I heard someone say once in a yoga class that you know you’re a yogi if you have flexible armpits.
It’s true. For me, when learning this pose, the shoulders (armpits included) were especially tricky. For a long time, my elbows would bend and want to point to the outside (not ideal). I had to do a lot of preparatory opening before I could move safely into my Wheel. For some people tightness in the front of the hip prevents mobility in this pose. Also, flexibility of the spine develops with practice. Try to think of your spine as long and spacious with room to move between each vertebrae. Breathing helps.
Stretches You can do to prepare for Chakrasana, Wheel Pose.
More helpful tips from my yogi friends …
-Here are some really awesome tips and an incredibly effective shoulder stretch from Lucas Rockwood.
-And here is a video from Sadie Nardini where she demonstrates some more shoulder openers.
Please post any questions below and as always, thanks for reading!
Lots of Love,
P.S. You can read last week’s post for tips on Standing Bow Pose.
By the way, please practice safely. These articles express my opinion and while I have over a decade’s experience with hatha yoga practice, intensive teacher trainings and hundreds of hours of teaching, always consult your physician before beginning any exercise regimen and to find out what activities suit your uniqueness. Because you are special and doggonit … I like you.