Do you long to open your heart?
Do you sit all day hunched over?
Does belly fat accumulate under your belly button?
Then wheel pose is exactly what you’re looking for. Wheel pose is an intense heart opener. It stretches the belly and elongates the spine. And since the head is below the heart, anxiety and depression begin to decrease as blood rushes to the brain.
In Sanskrit ऊर्ध्वधनुरासन
Other names: Chakrasana (wheel pose) चक्रासन
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate-Advanced
Prep Pose: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) and Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Symbolism of Wheels
The 1st wheel ever found was in modern day Iraq dating back to 3500 B.C. This wheel was a potters wheel and 300 years later was transformed for use in transportation and farming. It’s pretty amazing that this prehistoric invention is so widely used today.
The wheel’s function has revolutionized how we get shit done. We can get to places faster using less resources all while optimizing space. It has helped civilization thrive and grow through farming and to become global citizens via transportation.
So why do we care about these details?
Was Wheel Pose named as such simply due to its look? Or like all things in yoga, is there a deeper meaning?
The wheel has been very symbolic through the ages. India uses the wheel on their flag representing law (dharma). Buddhists also use the “dharma wheel” symbolizing the teachings of the Buddha and the never ending cycle of life (samsara).
Native Americans have the Medicine Wheels, Hindus have Mandalas, Ancient Europe had the Sun Wheel, even Christians had the Ichthus Wheel.
So clearly there is something special about the wheel. Not only is it able to take us farther than we thought physically possible, but spiritually as well!
Why do we love Wheel?
I have a love affair with Wheel Pose (Urdha Dhanurasana). It took me a long time to master, but I persisted because I was so convinced that it was my ticket to freedom in several different areas.
- Belly fat
- Adrenal fatigue
Wheel Pose activates the entire spine, kidneys, and endocrine system (fight/flight/metabolism). This activation can lower your cortisol and bring new life to your entire body.
Now what I mean by wheel helping belly fat is this. Most of us sit hunched over a desk all day. That’s why a lot of my sequences focus on breaking up belly fat by stretching the abdomen.
You will notice that this little pouch sitting right below your belly button is oddly shaped. You can literally see how it’s been shaped by your pant line. Hunching over puts pressure on the belly to go down and then out.
Wheel pose allows the “scrunching” up of the belly to elongate back into its normal form.
Wheel is also an intense heart opener. I LOVE heart openers. Hurtful people and even life itself tempt us to shut down our hearts and withdraw inside ourselves.
Heart openers gently nudge our shoulders back, allow our chests to lift, and open us back up to the world. Beautiful.
|Inhale/Exhale||Lye on back. Feet by buttocks. Palms flat by ears.||Relaxed. Confident.|
|Inhale||Raise hips. Gently set the top of the head on your mat.||Prepared. Oriented. Stimulation of the crown chakra.|
|Inhale/Exhale||Bring your elbows back towards your feet. Chest extends out. Elbows and knees are parallel.||Aligned. Energy coursing through body in anticipation.|
|Exhale||Extend arms completely. Stand on toes if desired.||Power. Open heart. Integrity of breath.|
|Inhale/Exhale||Stay extended for as long you can breathe naturally. Then come back to the top of your head and release down.||Accomplished. Breath focused. Strong yet relaxed.|
|Inhale/Exhale||Lye in Savasana.||Fresh energy flowing through body. Release of toxins.|
|Strengthens arms, shoulders, legs, and chest|
|Opens the heart|
|Activates the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, hormones regulating metabolism, fight/flight reflex)|
|Stretches and tones abdomen|
|Lengthens any compression in the spine (ie from sitting all day)|
|Increased oxygen to the lungs|
|All poses where the head is below the heart helps fight depression and anxiety|
- Stand on your toes after lift off. It was only when I started to do this that I truly felt what the shape of wheel was supposed to be.
- Pause while on your head. Check your alignment. But keep the weight in your arms, not your head!
- Place a strap around your biceps. This keeps your elbows from splaying outwards.
- Put 2 blocks against the wall and place your hands on top.