We’re all familiar with the blocks, blankets and straps that are ubiquitously stocked in every yoga studio – but have you tried using a yoga wheel? Having a wheel at home can really enhance your self-practice and ease you into those asanas that have seemed inaccessible up until now.
Here are a few funky uses for a yoga wheel that we love.
Building spine and back flexibility
Taking it slow with the wheel in the centre of your back, roll backwards and forwards. This encourages the back to stretch out evenly and safely – if you’re feeling it, you can grab the wheel over your shoulders and try to touch the floor with your elbows! Our word of warning – wear a bun if you have long hair. No one wants to get their pony tail trapped under a yoga wheel (we’ve been there and we don’t recommend it).
You know those poses where you’ve made some progress but you’re just not quite there enough to feel the stretch deeply? Your yoga wheel may be the answer. A great example is Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose – or the splits for those who are still new to all the names). By resting one leg on the wheel and shifting your weight closer or further away using your hands, you’ll get a stretch that isn’t hindered by the pesky floor. You could also use a block for support here – and remember to respect your body. If you are feeling any sharp pain or numbness, stop immediately.
Building core strength
Get yourself into plank position with the tops of your feet on the wheel – if the simple act of balancing here doesn’t bring tears to your eyes at the ab-burning sensation of it all, lift one leg at a time to fire them up even more.
Relaxing into backbends
We’ve all been there in a Yin class when someone tells you to relax into fish pose. While trying to look serene while staring at the feet of the person behind you may bring a whole host of benefits, a wheel can make this pose feel much more restorative. Pop the wheel under your back, arms down by your side and legs our straight ahead. You can add a block under the head for support to make it extra chill. Try shoulder stand supported by a wheel for a less intense version of this awesome asana too.
Yoga wheels come in different sizes – the best way to choose your first wheel is to try a few, but if you don’t have access to a wheel you can go roughly by your height. This guide will give you an estimate of which size wheel could suit you.