How To Do Wheel Pose

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chloe Freytag demonstrating Wheel Pose in a black tank top and yoga pants

Wheel Pose is a backbend that enhances spinal flexibility, opens the chest and strengthens arms, wrists, glutes and core. Wheel pose also increases energy and alertness making it an especially good pose to do in the morning after you are sufficiently warmed up. If you are looking for more spinal flexibility you should learn how to do Wheel Pose.

One great way to try Wheel Pose for the first time is to do it with a partner. Have your partner stand behind your head and, as you lift your spine, he or she can help support the lift and gently hold his or her hands around your torso.

A common mistake during Wheel Pose is to let the legs splay open. This compromises your spine and lessens the benefits of the stretch. Be sure to squeeze your inner thighs toward one another as your rise up. Squeeze your glutes and belly to keep the core focus strong.

Most people can learn how to do Wheel Pose, but if you have any kind of back injury or high blood pressure this is not a good pose for you. A good alternative is Bridge Pose if your body allows. In addition, while many poses are held for 30 seconds or more, it is best to try this pose for 10-15 seconds at a time. You can repeat several times in a row.

To make this post more intense try lifting you heels and squeezing your glutes a little tighter.
Here are the steps to performing Wheel Pose.

1) Begin lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor close to glutes.

2) Tucking your shoulders under you, tighten your abdominals and lift your hips up as high as you can.

3) Reach your hands back and place palms down next to ears. On an exhale, press hands into floor, lengthen arms and press chest up high until you are in a full backbend position.

4) Continue to breathe and relax head. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat if desired.

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