12 Oct Pose of the week: Wheel Pose
Now we are entering the winter months, everything in nature hibernates and closes up. We must ensure our bodies do not do the same as this often leads to illness and low moods. Therefore what better pose to do than the wheel as it completely opens up the front of the body.
Wheel / Upward Facing Bow / Urdhva Dhanurasana
Urdhva = Upward Dhanur = Bow Asana = Pose
What is the Wheel Pose?
This pose works like spine, the legs and the arms. It also lengthens the legs, torso and arms. This pose is excellent to do if you are experiencing a mid-afternoon slump as it is very energising. It is also a great pose for those who are experiencing back pain after doing activities involving a lot of forward bending.
For beginners, this pose can be quite challenging due to the strength needed to push themselves up using their quadriceps and triceps. As it is a strong backbend with a lot of strength need in the spine and hip flexors some may need to work up to this pose.
What are the benefits of Wheel Pose?
- Strengthens and lengthens the vertebrae.
- Strengthens your arms, wrists, abdomen, legs, shoulders and chest.
- Enhances the nervous system and improves hormone secretions that keep your body in optimal health.
- Loosen the hip flexors.
- Can be energising.
How to do Wheel Pose
- Begin lying on your back.
- Bend your knees, bringing your heels towards your seat bones.
- Place your hands by your head on the floor, with the fingers point down to your shoulders.
- On an exhale, raise your buttocks and lumbar spine off the floor and rest your head gently back on the floor.
- If this is comfortable for you, then you can push into the hands gently lifting your head and the rest of your body off the floor to take the full pose.
- Hold the pose for as long as is comfortable for you (we usually say 5 breaths).
- Gently lower your head and hips down to the floor and end lying back on the mat with your knees bent.
- Hug the knees in to the chest and gently rock from side to side to release the lower back.
Areas for caution
- The back – This is a strong stretch which puts the back into an extreme bend. Work up to this pose carefully by practising Bridge Pose.
- The arms – This pose uses a lot of arm strength so only stay up for a short period of time.
- High blood pressure – this pose should not be performed if you suffer from HBP. Try Bridge Pose instead.