There’s a new trend in the yoga world and it’s quickly become the must-have product of the year. It’s been seen in the hands of well-known yogis far and wide, and even celebrities have been sharing their love for it.
So what is this new trend I speak of…
It’s the yoga wheel.
If you haven’t seen this bad boy yet, then you might be living under a rock or just not addicted to social media (which in that case, good for you), but either way – the yoga wheel is here to stay!
Upon first entering the market, I was skeptical as to how well it could assist yogis in their practice and with a high price point ($90 – $150), it wasn’t an easy purchase. But after continually seeing the wheel in my social media feeds and watching the amazing progress people were achieving, I quickly became a believer.
And with that said – I am now the owner a yoga wheel.
My yoga wheel is strategically placed at home so that I can easily roll around before and after work – aka eight hours of sitting at a damn desk. It helps reverse the ridiculous amount of hunched forward positioning that our modern society requires and that I partake in five days a week. It’s a true lifesaver, if you ask me.
You’re probably still skeptical about this circle shaped, not so comfortable looking thing… and that’s where I come into this equation – to help you navigate the yoga wheel journey.
Below is everything you need to know about this new trend – the what, why, how, and where of yoga wheels. And of course, where to get your hands on one.
A yoga wheel is a circular shaped prop that helps open the front side body, assists in advanced yoga postures, and rolls out the spine.
Basically – it’s the bomb.
At first glance, it can be hard to imagine why anyone would spend over $100 on a wooden wheel that you roll around on. I was in that same boat too, until I actually tried the damn thing.
And here’s why:
- The yoga wheel will immediately stretch your entire front side body – hip flexors, abdomen, chest, and shoulders. It’s a serious heart opener!
- It will massage the entire length of your spine in a safe but deep way.
- The wheel helps yoga practitioners move deeper into postures, specifically heart opening postures like backbends and forearm balances.
At this point, you might be almost convinced about this circle shaped yoga thing. Or at the very least, you now understand the thought process behind it.
But here’s the hard part, what do you actually do with it?
And that’s my cue – below are 5 ways to use a yoga wheel:
1. Massage the spine
As I said up above, the yoga wheel is an amazing tool to help reverse our culture of sitting and rounding the shoulders forward. And this is how to do just that.
- 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 begin to roll back and forth on the wheel.
- You can roll back until your head meets the ground or until you’ve found a deep enough opening.
- Find an interesting place and hang out there for 3 -5 breaths.
- Once your back has had enough, find child’s pose to counter the deep backside opening.
2. 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.
3. 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 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!
4. Aid in flexibility
Aside from the stretching and heart opening aspects, the wheel can also double as a flexibility tool. If you do a quick search of the hashtag #yogawheel, you’ll quickly realize how creative yogis are with their wheels.
Below is a simple way to help stretch the hamstrings and find a deeper variation of paschimottanasana.
- Find a seat on the ground, extend your legs long in front of you, and place the yoga wheel in front of the feet.
- 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.
5. Challenge/Strengthen your balance
And lastly, the yoga wheel can help challenge and strengthen your balance.
I’ve seen yogis do some crazy ass ish 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!
Below is my best example of trying to balance on a circular shaped thing (that’s a conundrum). Again, scroll through the #yogawheel hashtag and find some inspiration.
So after all of that talk of the what, why, and how – where can a yogi find this thing?
And as always, I’m here to help guide that journey.
I had the pleasure of testing the SukhaMat yoga wheel and as you can guess, it’s Journey Junkie approved. I also have the pleasure of working with the founder because she runs the studio I teach at, does it get any better! Barbara tests her yoga product innovations at the studio by letting yoga teachers and students practice with them. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
In addition to the yoga wheel, I absolutely recommend the SukhaMat yoga knee pad. This nifty little yoga prop is incredibly supportive for the knees and as someone who’s genetically born with bad knees, I can’t get enough of it.
And there you have it yogi friends, that’s the deal with yoga wheels and how to use them! I hope this helped clear up any confusion about what this new, trendy yoga prop is and why you should be adding it to your yoga toolbox.
Until next time – xoxo.