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  • Chris Hersh

Wheel Pose, Urdhva Dhanurasana

Updated: Mar 18

AKA:

Upward bow


Benefits:

Strengthens and lengthens the vertebrae

Creates space in the vertebrae to offset and prevent compression as we age

Strengthens arms, wrists, core, legs, shoulders, and chest

Opens the chest

Loosens tight hips

Increases oxygen flow and respiration

Ignites all seven chakras

Heart opener


Modifications:

Use of exercise ball for support

Bolsters to support lower back

Blocks with bolsters on top to increase height


Variations:

Straight legged wheel

One arm/One legged wheel

Bridge pose

Camel pose


Warming Up:

Wheel is a challenging pose that requires just about the entire body to be warmed up. Starting from our base, we will have all of our weight on our wrists, we want to ensure that our wrists are thoroughly warmed up prior to attempting wheel. If we experience pain or restricted mobility in our wrists, it may be worthwhile to consider bridge or camel as an alternative. Moving up, our arms and shoulders will be greatly tested in this pose, so dedicating time to warming up our shoulders and arms is vital. Our core will be stabilizing our body, in particular our back, which will be bent. The more attention we give to properly warming up our back, the more comfortable our back bend experience will be in this pose. Our chest needs to be warmed up as this is a heart opener. Our hips should be properly warmed up as well, along with some leg warm ups since we will be getting a lot of stability and our lower foundation strength provided by our legs and hips.


Steps:

Lie flat on floor, bend knees feet to floor, heels close to or touching our sits bones

Bend elbows, place palms on floor beside head, forearms close to perpendicular to floor, fingers pointing inward toward shoulders/body

Actively press feet and hands into floor, exhale, push hips into air

Keep thighs and feet parallel

Press shoulders up by pressing into floor with hands, lifting shoulders and upper body off floor to crown of the head resting on floor providing support for body

Keep arms parallel, push arms straight, lifting crown of head off floor

Ensure upper thighs slightly turned inward, upper arms turned outward, head hanging or can look up

Hold as you can, holding for several breaths and lower slowly down, doing repetitions, or holding for 1-3 minutes, gradually building strength and openness to experience deeper expressions of the pose


Routine to warm up for and perform wheel pose:



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