When I first got this beautiful yoga wheel, brand YogiWheel, from the folks at Evolve Fit Wear, I was thrilled.
For months I had been crushing on the yoga wheel trend and the amazing things that people were able to do with them from training themselves to press up to Handstand to some amazing balance tricks.
I couldn’t wait to try it out for myself.
There was only one problem: I was 8 weeks pregnant at the time.
The first trimester of pregnancy just isn’t the time to put yourself at risk of falling, so I knew my handstand press exercises were going to have to wait. (I won’t lie, some of those exercises are a teensy bit daunting and scary to me anyway.) But that didn’t mean I was going to put my new wheel to the side and let it get dusty. No way! I just knew I would have to be a little creative.
I found the wheel to be a great prop for bringing the floor closer to me when I need (or just want) something a little taller than a block. Since it’s a circle, you can rock it forward and back, which is both super soothing and can help deepen poses a bit if that’s what you’re going for. And, perhaps my favorite use for it is to use it as a back roller/massager because pregnant or not, who doesn’t need a good massage as often as possible?
I really love this one from YogiWheel because it’s super sturdy and I love how colorful it is, and the selection of colors at that. YogiWheel also makes some that have yoga-inspired quotes written on the inside, which I think is a really nice touch. I love that the outside has a grippy yoga mat-like covering so you won’t slip. That said, this is the first wheel I’ve ever tried, so I can’t really compare it to other popular brands, like the Dharma Yoga Wheel.
I thought some of you might be curious about yoga wheels too and want some stretches and pose ideas to try out. You can use them and incorporate them into your practice. If you didn’t know this already, yoga wheels can be an excellent tool for building core strength, which is necessary to do inversions. I think they are a fantastic addition to any yogi’s prop closet.
If you have a wheel already, go get it and try these poses out. And if you don’t have a yoga wheel, now’s a great time to get one—even if handstands and deep backbends aren’t your thing.
5 Gentle Poses To Try With a Yoga Wheel
Alright, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Time to stretch and get to work trying out these new yoga wheel poses. Below, I’ll give you insights into each of my gentle yoga wheel stretches and poses, and why I find them beneficial in my practice.
1) Supported Backbend + Massage
Well, duh. The most obvious thing to do with a yoga wheel is just draped yourself over it, let gravity help you drop your shoulders toward the floor, and open your chest. The instant release in pressure from your upper and lower back feels great.
If you’re focused on trying to get a good, deep stretch, try and roll on the yoga wheel in one isolated area of your back for 15-30 seconds. It’ll be a little intense at times, but afterward, your back will be thanking you.
With that said, the best part is that rocking forward and back makes for a pretty stellar self-massage. You control how much pressure you give yourself and where you need the most love.
2) Rocking Lizard Pose
Lizard Pose is one of my favorite hip opening poses.
When I come into it with my back toes tucked under and a straight back leg, I naturally rock forward and back.
The movement is soothing and it helps me get into all the juicy spots in my pelvis and hips that need a little extra love.
I usually do this with my forearms on the floor, but I found that bringing my forearms to the yoga wheel instead gives me some extra support and makes rocking easier.
It’s a little awkward to fit both forearms on one wheel, though, so I’m thinking I’m going to need to get a second one (I know, I know.. First World, Spoiled Yogi problems!).
3) Rocking Side Bend Stretch
It’s a side bend. It’s a massage. It’s exactly what I need at the end of the day (and sometimes the beginning and middle of the day, too…).
Again, you can use the wheel to help rock yourself up and over and back again. You should feel the stretching in the lower back and abdominals.
Once you feel all opened up on one side, slowly get up, turn yourself around, and do the other side.
4) Rocking Squat Pose
Squatting is obviously awesome for mamas-to-be, but it’s also a great posture for anyone who wants to open their hips, inner thighs, groins, and stretch their ankles and lower calf muscles. This pose is good for individuals who need to stretch out their legs and lower body.
I adore a variation of Malasana (Garland Pose) with a rounded forward bend shape similar to Balasana (Child’s Pose). I find that it combines the quieting, introspective benefits of Child’s Pose with the physical benefits of squatting.
The only thing that could make it better?
You guessed it! Rocking forward and back.
A yoga wheel allows me to do that, and it feels SO incredibly good.
5) Supported Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
So, I know this won’t work for everyone because we’re all different heights (and some of you, OK most of you, have much longer legs than me!) and our forward bending capacities vary a lot, too, but this is one of my absolute favorite things to do with my YogiWheel.
I’ve always loved forward bending for the calming effect they have on the mind. I’ve always favored seated forward bends because I could easily rest my head on a brick or sometimes even the floor for a little extra calm and introspection.
I always wished I could find the same in Uttanasana, but who had time to build a block tower in the middle of a yoga practice?
The YogiWheel is exactly the right height for me to rest my head.
Because the yoga wheel is so sturdy, there is no chance of a block tower crashing down to disrupt my peace.
And just like that Uttanasana is my new favorite pose.
Yoga Wheel Benefits I Discovered
The yoga wheel is sturdy, but because it is a wheel, it can move with your body during quick sudden movements allowing you to still stay comfortably in your pose.
Unlike yoga blocks, if you lose your balance too much, you may fall over or have to rebuild your block tower, which doesn’t exactly feel rewarding or relaxing.
By incorporating a yoga wheel in your daily practice, you’ll notice it give you the proper support that gives you more confidence to go deeper in your stretch, which eventually will give you more flexibility.
Good For All Levels of Yoga
Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or advanced yogi, yoga wheels are great to use for balance, a relaxing flow, and even to target specific pain points in your body.
If you’re feeling pain between your shoulder blade or around your neck, the yoga wheel is perfect for breaking down knots and getting out all the tension in your back and shoulder areas. With routine and time, your back can feel less tense and more relaxed.
Backbends are Easier
For times when a full backbend isn’t possible, which is understandable for light sessions, beginners and soon-to-be mamas. Using the wheel is great to help first-timers practice getting your backbend with the right posture and without making it hurt unbearably. But it’s also a great relaxing stretch for advanced yogis
Helps Prevent Injury or Nurse Old Ones
Because the wheel somewhat forms to your body, it will support your body movements throughout traditional poses and help give you the right posture.
Beyond the yoga benefits, they work great to provide relief for your back muscles and spine. Many people buy foam rollers for this reason, but the yoga wheel allows you isolated specific muscle groups better and control the pressure.
Do you have a yoga wheel? What are some of your favorite ways to use it?
Comment below, I'd love to hear from you!
xo - Erica at Spoiled Yogi