Wheel Pose for Wheel People

A friend once pointed to a yoga pose in a magazine and said, "If only I could do that I feel like everything in my world would be alright." The yoga pose wasn't the most technically perfect pose, not even close, It was done by a performer, an artist, and it was imbued with creativity and soul. They had approached the yoga pose as they did everything in their life, as an opportunity to express their unique full-on essence. It made it the most stunning, awe inspiring pose we'd ever seen. It had that "keeping it real," quality. Not posing but doing. Going into the pose with all of their openness, creativity, vulnerability, emotion, will, fire, grit, love, freedom, daring and devotion. All chakras (spinning wheels) lit up in a row. What my friend was sensing was a full expression of Self. Something we all secretly long for. A way to express our personal style in everything we do.

Each pose/exercise is our summation as well as a new beginning!
Wheel Pose shows up in a few of our DVD's for a reason. for one, it blasts open all the chakras. It opens our Heart Centers big time. It elevates us and gives us new perspective. Makes the glands secrete to keep us feeling sexy and strong. What's not to like about Wheel Pose? Granted, it's a somewhat advanced yoga pose that calls for a blend of balance, strength, and flexibility. The fact is, despite your best doubts you may have all you need in your skill set to do Wheel Pose right now! All you need to bring is your creative self/personal style as well as the willingness to practice the pose often. Just do it, ya know?

Where There's a Wheel There's a way: The how to:

Feel as if your shoulders are too tight? Arms too weak? Back simply refuses to bend? Or...all of the above? Most often what's needed is not so much any of those things. Whats needed is more flexibility in our hip flexors and upper spine. If you can hold front push-up plank pose for 30 seconds you probably have the upper body strength you need for Wheel Pose. We also need a good push of leg strength to get us off the floor. Most of us have plenty enough of that! It's also helpful to have a released solar plexus so you can relax and breathe in the pose once you're up there.

First warm up!

A good time to practice Wheel Pose is at the end of your regular practice when you are fully warmed up. We recommend any of our DVDs. Kundalini Yoga for Beginner & Beyond and Yoga for Beginners & Beyond: Stretch, Strengthen & Be Stress Free are good choices. The Cobra sequence in our Green Energy DVD is like Wheel Pose with training wheels!

Additional exercises that help prep your body for full Wheel are:

We recommend three sets of each of these taking a few Long Deep Breaths in the Pose, or Breath of Fire if so inspired!

Bridge Pose: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Press into your feet and the tops of your shoulders and rise up. Interlace your fingers beneath you. this is baby wheel and will help open up your front body and hip flexors.

Hip Flexor Stretch aka King Arthur Pose: with one shin up the wall have your opposite foot flat, knee bent. Start in the upright position and set yourself up well. Lift strongly through your breastbone and drop your tailbone. Lift your arms and stretch, creating more space between your ribs and pelvis. Bend as deeply into the stretch as you are able. This will give you a very deep hip flexor release.

Cobra Pose (not shown): lie on your stomach with your legs together or almost so. Hands palms down near your ribs. Press up into Cobra Pose, Keep your elbows close to your body and feel them drawing back towards your heels. Work on arching all parts of your spine evenly. Especially pay attention to bending through your upper spine as much as your lower spine. Feel that each vertebrae in your upper spine arcs forward and up. Send your chin forward and arc it up to finish your curve. This is an important exercise for cultivating upper body flexibility important for full Wheel Pose.

Dolphin Pose (not shown) Down Dog on your forearms with palms flat and shoulder width. (This is in our Kundalini Cardio Stretch & Strengthen DVD). This is a good upper body strengthener (rotate your upper arm bones outwards and create space between your shoulder blades) and warmer-up for Wheel Pose.

Free Wheelin'

Be very careful that the floor beneath you is not slippery. Don't lotion up those hands before practice! Also, remember It doesn't matter if we can't achieve wheel on our first, second, or hundredth attempt. It's the willingness, creativity and spirit we bring. Follow the instructions below. Sow your wheel with soul and watch your wheel glow!

1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet close, but not too close to your buttocks. Place your hands palms down fingertips near your ears, pointing towards your feet. Inhale as you push into the floor with your hands and feet and place the top of your head on the floor.

(*This may be as far as you get today. That's okay -take a few breaths here and come down. Think about really using your leg strength even more next time round. You can rock some more weight into your arms once you are up there.)

And if you can, exhale and on your next inhale press all the way up. Take a few deep breaths. Move around rocking your weight back and forth from feet to hands. Press your breast bone between the plane of your upper arms. Try to feel an even arc along the length of your spine. Don't let any one part of your spine do more work than the rest. Inhale, stretch, and as you relax your breath slowly descend. Rest on your back with your feet flat and knees bent. Couldn't focus of any of those instructions at all your first time up? Don't worry it's all part of the process!

2. Ready? We're going up again. But this time we are going to bring our artistic element. Any emotions you are feeling about the pose: fearful, excited, inspired, frustrated...It's all good here, Nay, it's desired here! You are going to enlist goddess Kali and bring a little wildness to your wheel. While following the instructions above see if you can forget about trying to do it "right." and just feel your devil may care wild element. Just do it-to do it! Sense your front body expand so your chakras can flare and dare. Stretch any which way you can in the pose. Imagine you are a dancer and have just dropped into a backbend for the fun of it, bringing your personal style to this body art. Express yourself! Be an artist exploring what needs to happen for total freedom. Feel Free! Inhale, relax your breath as you carefully descend. Rest on your back with knees bent, feet flat.

3. Okay now we are warmed ourselves up enough to really honor our Wheel! Think of someone you love, someone you want to honor (this could even be your own Higher Self). Set yourself as you did before and press up, bringing your inspired spirit with you. This time you are the Universe. Breathe into your Heart Center and be a true expression of love. Feel your body as the ultimate expression of vulnerability and willingness to expand. Your body is your prayer. Do this with devotion. Inhale, relax your breath, come down and rest for a moment with feet flat and knees bent. Work up to 3 minutes (or more!) of this with Long Deep Breathing or Breath of Fire

To end your Wheel Pose session: Take a cat stretch (twisting side to side on your back). Rock and Roll on your spine and come right out of it. If you feel so inspired go right to the Meditation below!

Wheelie Well Done! :)