What’s the hottest workout prop you can own right now?
A yoga wheel.
Pinterest dubbed the yoga wheel as the hottest workout prop in 2018. While it’s been three years since it got the trophy, I still think you have to get one. Find out why in this article.
What’s a Yoga Wheel?
A yoga wheel is a cylindrical-shaped prop made of cork or plastic or a combination of both. It usually measures approximately 12 inches in diameter. You may have seen many yogis on Instagram using this prop in their yoga practice. But even athletes use it for their pre and post-workout stretches.
Lucy Arnold, founder of yoga clothing brand Locket Loves and yoga instructor, was quoted as saying by Elle, “A yoga wheel is for absolutely everybody, from yoga pros to runners and crossfire athletes.”
Sri Dharma Mittra developed the yoga wheel in 2014. Then, his son enhanced it even further to what we now know as the Dharma Yoga wheel.
How Do You Use a Yoga Wheel?
Yoga wheels are gaining popularity among movement enthusiasts. The primary usage of it is to support your movement, especially the movement of your spine. People usually use it for spinal extension or backbends. But you will also find others who use it for balancing and for making yoga poses more challenging.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga Wheel?
The yoga wheel’s versatility is why it is the hottest, if not, one of the hottest props out there. As mentioned above, it has so many uses. But, why use it? Here are some of the benefits of a yoga wheel that should convince you to use it.
It Makes Difficult Movements More Accessible
You can use a yoga wheel to help you do movements or yoga asanas that you don’t have enough mobility or strength to do just yet. An example is the yoga posture we call Kapotasana.
For Kapotasana, you can hold the edges of the wheel while it is under your upper back instead of your feet if that is not possible yet. Using the wheel can help you build the flexibility you need to get into the full expression of the pose.
Another example is the yoga asana, Pincha Mayurasana or Forearm Stand. This pose requires a lot of upper body strength. The wheel can help you get into this pose while grabbing ahold of it. Doing this will fire up your upper body muscles. If that is still not enough, you can put your head or forehead on the wheel to get leverage.
It Adds Desired Challenges to Yoga Poses and Movements
The versatility of a yoga wheel knows no boundaries. You can use it to make difficult yoga poses more accessible and vice versa.
Want to build more back body strength?
You can do Locust Pose on a yoga wheel. Just put the wheel in front of your hip crease. Doing this will make your Locust more challenging.
It Improves Balance
A yoga wheel is helpful in improving your balance by strengthening your core stabilizers. You can use it for core exercises such as a plank.
Instead of your toes on the floor, you can put your feet on top of a yoga wheel. Doing this makes the pose more challenging.
It Builds up Physical Strength and Self-Confidence
When you use a yoga wheel to support you in complex movements, you will feel more confident. Having this confidence will push you to try poses you didn’t think you could do, which results in you becoming stronger.
It Helps You Relax
A yoga wheel is not only helpful when practicing active movements and yoga poses. You can also use it for passive stretches and constructive rest. Instead of a bolster or a block to prop you up, you can use a wheel. Here’s a creative way of using a yoga wheel during Savasana:
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You can also use it under your knees or spine.
Yoga Poses You Can Do with a Yoga Wheel
There are so many poses and movements you can do with a yoga wheel. Here are just some of them:
Assisted Wheel Pose
Can’t extend your arms in Urdhva Dhanurasana or Wheel just yet? Use a yoga wheel in your mid and lower back while bending your arms and grabbing its edges. Doing this will stretch your upper back and hip flexors, like the way a Wheel Pose would without using the strength of your arms and shoulders.
Tortoise Pose with a Yoga Wheel
Tortoise Pose or Kurmanasana is an intermediate to advanced yoga pose. It requires deeply stretching your hamstrings and hips. But beginners or people with a limited range of motion can get into the pose using a yoga wheel, as shown above.
Yoga-Wheel-Assisted Wide-Legged Forward Fold with a Twist
Many yogis use a yoga wheel to support their backbends. But you can also use it in standing forward fold poses when you can’t reach the ground just yet. For example, in the photo above, the yogi uses the wheel instead of a block to rest her hand.
Visvamitrasana with a Yoga Wheel
Another challenging pose that beginners can access using a yoga wheel is Visvamitrasana. Doing this is helpful if you don’t have enough arm strength yet. Using the yoga wheel under the externally rotated leg, the arm on the mat can have support.
Hanumanasana with a Yoga Wheel
Front Split or Hanumasana is a challenging yoga pose that requires a high range of motion in your hips and hamstrings. If you cannot bring your sitting bones to the ground just yet, you can use a yoga wheel to assist you.
Is a Yoga Wheel Safe to Use?
A yoga wheel comes with elaborate usage and safety guidelines. Follow the guidelines, so you don’t misuse them. If you wish to try new poses you see on Instagram or other platforms, always work with caution. You can also look for yoga wheel instructional videos on YouTube.
How to Choose a Yoga Wheel
The efficacy of using a yoga wheel in your practice or workouts partly depends on the yoga wheel you choose to buy. So, before getting yourself one, here are the things you need to consider to get the yoga wheel that works for you and your practice.
Typical yoga wheels you can find in the market can carry 400 to 500 lbs. of load. But you can find many yoga wheels that don’t show weight capacity. If you don’t plan to stand on top of the wheel or use it for inversions, not knowing the weight capacity is acceptable.
Otherwise, ensure the yoga wheel is sturdy enough to carry you.
Yoga wheels come in different sizes. You can find them ranging from 6 to 15 inches in diameter and about 5 to 7 inches in width. The typical size is 12.5 x 5 inches in diameter/width, which fits people 5 feet to 6 feet tall.
For yogis who are shorter than 5 feet, choose the smaller ones.
The materials used in making a yoga wheel can vary depending on the brand. Typically, you will find cork yoga wheels lined with plastic. But you can also find some that are 100% wood.
If your concern is eco-friendliness, a 100% wood yoga wheel is great, but you only have limited choices. If you go for a cork and plastic yoga wheel, make sure the plastic is biodegradable.
Our Top 3 Recommended Yoga Wheels to Buy
UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheel Pro Series
UpCircleSeven yoga wheel is one of our top three recommended yoga wheels. It comes in many colors, sizes, designs, and materials. The pro series comes with extra padding, which is excellent for practicing restorative yoga poses.
In addition, it can support up to 500 pounds, and since it is made of cork, it doesn’t retain odor and is antimicrobial. The only thing I don’t like about this yoga wheel is it doesn’t come with instructions.
Risefit Yoga Wheel
Risefit yoga wheel has the highest weight capacity, which is why we recommend it. If you are doing yoga with kids, two kids or you and one kid can use it together. The padding of this one is not as thick as Upcircleseven, but it is dense.
It feels very sturdy, and it comes in cool and funky styles and colors. When you buy a Risefit yoga wheel, it comes with a pose guide and a 3-year warranty.
Nature’s Integrity Yoga Wheel
Nature’s Integrity yoga wheel is in the top 2 for the highest weight capacity in all yoga wheels. It can carry 600 lbs. and is very sturdy. It also has extra thick paddings and comes with a pose guide.
The best thing about this brand of yoga wheel is that it has a lifetime warranty. How cool is that?
A yoga wheel is an excellent addition to your yoga practice. It can make your yoga practice more accessible or more difficult. Just make sure that you get one that is sturdy to avoid injuries.