WOW this week went fast! As part of our #MindfulMonday routine I found it necessary to share my new bedside pre-bedtime routine with our readers. This is a great way to help maximize your relaxation, strengthen, and stretch your muscles before bed. I will be starting this routine today and continue every night as it claims to help you wind down for a good night’s rest.
Yoga wheels are a revolutionary yoga prop designed to be versatile. They come in a variety of sizes, based on your main goal or purpose for using it. But did you know that yoga wheels also offer a wide variety of physical benefits? We all know the amazing benefits of yoga for the physical body. When we incorporate a yoga wheel into our practice, we can take these benefits to the next level.
Here are five benefits to using a yoga wheel:
1. Give your spine some love
With the benefit of movement, you can massage the spine by rolling the wheel up and down the length of your spinal column. Or, if you’re looking more for a backbend, find a static hold with the center/upper part of your spine on the wheel. This stretch is a great way to counteract the negative effects of our sedentary lifestyle.
From a seated position, bring the yoga wheel to the base of your spine and keep your feet planted as you gently begin to roll your spine up and onto the wheel. From here, you can play around with slowly rolling forward and back to get the full effects of a spinal massage.
2. Stretch and lengthen
You can try a variety of different yoga poses to target specific areas of the body:
Low lunge with the wheel either beneath the front thigh for a supported hamstring stretch, or supporting the lifted back shin for a quad stretch.
Reclining Butterfly pose is a gentle hip opener, and the effects are amplified using the wheel to experience a nice heart opening backbend. From a seated position, bring the bottoms of your feet to touch. Bring the yoga wheel to your low back and gently recline onto the wheel. Rest your arms down by your side, palms up.
Reclining Hero pose is a deeper way to open the front body, find a backbend, and stretch into the quads, knees, and ankles. Bring your knees hip-width distance apart (spread them wider to make this pose gentler, or closer together to deepen). Bring your seat down in between your heels as you roll your spine onto the wheel and stretch your arms beyond your head.
3. Strengthen and tone
There are a lot of fun and dynamic ways to move with your yoga wheel to strengthen and tone full body. You can target specific parts of the body, like the core, glutes, and legs, or you can focus on the upper or lower body as a whole. There’s a wide range of options, but we’ll cover a few key moves here:
Core and upper body can be targeted simultaneously when you come into a modified plank pose with both shins on the yoga wheel. From there, simply roll the wheel forward as you bring your body into a pike-like position, and then roll the wheel back into full plank. Repeat to strengthen and tone abs, arms, and chest.
Glutes and lower body can also be targeted with a yoga wheel. From a standing position, bring the wheel to face your right inner ankle, and step your left foot longways onto the wheel. As you roll it away from your ankle, bend into the front knee and keep the glutes engaged. This will strengthen glutes, quads, calves and ankles.
4. Cultivate balance
Balance has a lot to do with core stability and all the little stabilizing muscles in the body. Yoga wheels can definitely help cultivate the strength and stability you need for balance! Many poses and exercises that you would do normally can be enhanced with a yoga wheel to cultivate even more balance, stability, and agility.
Garland, or malasana pose is a challenging strengthening pose by itself, but on a yoga wheel, you are cultivating strength, agility, and balance simultaneously.
Toe stand is another fun pose to try on the yoga wheel. By itself, this pose takes balance and stability, but adding the yoga wheel brings much more body awareness to the parts you need to engage and strengthen.
5. Deepen your practice overall
Yoga wheels are a great support system as you work to deepen your yoga practice. As we’ve learned from this article, we know yoga wheels can support us in backbends, cultivate more flexibility and balance, and also strengthen and tone full body. The yoga wheel combines strength and flexibility for a full mind-body challenge – and workout.
Get creative and explore the ways you can incorporate a yoga wheel into your favorite yoga poses, stretches, and exercises. We recommend exploring Instagram. Use the hashtag #yogawheel to find endless inspiration and guidance on all the amazing ways you can incorporate this awesome yoga prop into your daily fitness and wellness routine.
Yoga wheels are a great way to deepen your practice – from balance, to building strength, and aiding in advanced poses) – and offer therapeutic benefits to create space in the body, massage the spine, and of course . . . cultivate creativity and have fun!
(Disclaimer: Read and follow all safety guidelines for this type of exercise. Also, consider consulting with your physician.)
For a great beginners video on how to use the wheel, check out: “How to use a yoga wheel.”
Anna “Jo-Jo” Castillo
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