Yoga wheels seem to be gaining popularity among yogis and athletes alike. I bought my Dharma Yoga Wheel last year and loved the stretch it gave me during chest openers. However, there are many other ways to use the wheel, not all of which are totally obvious. Here are a few of my favorites:
Abs and adductors
Grip the outside of the wheel with your feet, ankles, or lower legs. Squeeze the wheel firmly with your legs as you stamp your low back into the mat to engage the low belly. Keep the engagement with your legs and in your belly as you raise the wheel up 45 degrees. Lower the wheel to a hover, then raise the wheel to 45 degrees. Repeat for ten rounds or more.
Place your feet through the wheel. Press your outer calves into the wheel so that you’re able to lift the wheel. Stamp your low back into the mat to engage the low belly. Keep the engagement with your legs and in your belly as you raise the wheel up 45 degrees. Lower the wheel to a hover, then raise the wheel to 45 degrees. Repeat for ten rounds or more.
Quad and hip flexor stretch
I saw someone do this stretch on Instagram and thought, “Looks easy enough.” I was so wrong! For me, this stretch requires a surprising amount of concentration and muscle awareness in the low belly and in the stretching leg — you’ll see in the video how challenging it is for me to remain balanced on the wheel.
Start in a standing lunge with your left leg lunging. Place the wheel under the front of your right thigh. Slowly lower your right thigh to the wheel. Gradually bend your right knee bend to a 90 degree angle and the sole of your right foot is parallel with the ceiling. Flex your right foot toward your shin to help stabilize your right ankle and knee. Square your hips. Play with the placement of the wheel. I find that the closer the wheel is toward my hips, the more supported and stable my hips feel. The closer the wheel is toward where my thigh and knee meet, the more I am able to sink my hips and deepen the stretch in my back hip flexor. Repeat these movements in the opposite side.