7 Modified Yoga Poses with a Yoga Wheel

 


The yoga wheel is such a great yoga prop to deepen your favourite yoga poses and try newer challenging poses! I especially love the yoga wheel for backbends <3

If you’ve been following any yoga related tags on Instagram (don’t forget to follow me!), you will likely have seen these curious circular props. Touted as one of the newest, revolutionary yoga props, I certainly wanted my very own Yoga Wheel! Unfortunately when they first became available, the only manufacturers were in the USA and sold for around 70USD. Couple the weak Canadian dollar with costly shipping, tax and duty, this would have been a very expensive prop once it reaches your Canadian doorstep.

Fast forward to Fall 2016, Canadian companies are starting to manufacture the yoga wheels as well, meaning lower shipping costs, no duty fees and exchange rates! Two weeks ago, YogDev reached out to me and asked if I would like to review their yoga wheel and I agreed without hesitation! YogDev is a Canadian company based out of Vancouver, BC. They currently have 4 beautiful colour combinations for their yoga wheels and are open to new product colour suggestions! From my research, YogDev offers the lowest price on the yoga wheel, so if you’re interested, please visit their website here.

 

White/grey YogDev Yoga Wheel

The specs for the yoga wheel can be found on their website:

  • Designed for Dharma wheel poses
  • 12″ diameter, 5″ thick
  • 6 mm of padding for extra comfort
  • 300 lbs weight capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Portable

I chose the white/grey combination and I love it! Shipping was really quick and I received it within 2-3 days. The wheel is a very simple prop but super versatile! The YogDev yoga wheel is a very high-quality product; the plastic part felt very solid,  edges are polished to a smooth touch,  and the padding was cushiony soft with an intricate grip pattern. I tried standing on it (it’s actually a lot harder to balance than I thought!) and the wheel felt solid supporting my weight. One other thing I did notice was the YogDev yoga wheel is really light; there was another yoga wheel brand at a yoga studio I visited and I was shocked at how heavy that one was. I also love the ‘instruction manual’ included to start you off on some yoga poses with your new wheel.

Close up of YogDev Yoga Wheel

I played around with the yoga wheel for two weeks before writing this review. Some words of caution:

  • Do be careful with the new prop. It’s a wheel and it’s designed to move, not something we’re used to in yoga if we’ve always used blocks.
  • Practice with a wall/spotter close by to help with balance.
  • The wheel can tip over on the side so be careful not to squish your fingers and toes when it tips over.
  • Use your best judgement! Try easier moves and slowly work your way up to the more challenging poses 🙂
It took a few days for me to get used to the yoga wheel and explore other poses. Below I’ll share 7 of my favourite poses, enjoy!
Pigeon Pose with Yoga Wheel

1. Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)

I’ve struggled with this pose since forever. To get into the pigeon pose, you start on your knees at hip distance apart. Supporting your back with your arms, slowly bend backwards into the camel pose. When you’re able to touch the mat with your fingers, walk your hands toward your toes. Bend your elbows and your forearm should be on the mat to support your weight.
The picture on the left shows my progress on the pigeon. As you can see, I’m still working on walking my hands back towards my toes. I always have this fear that my arms will collapse and I hurt my neck.
The yoga wheel is an EXCELLENT tool to assist the pigeon pose. You begin by placing the wheel between your calves in kneeling position then enter the pose in the same manner. Since the wheel is supporting your back as you bend backwards, you won’t need to worry about breaking your neck! Once your elbows reach the mat, grab the wheel and slowly inch your fingers closer to your toes. With the yoga wheel, this pose feels very comfortable!
Low Lunge with Yoga Wheel

2. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Low lunges are great for waking up the hips. This pose is great for warming up for the splits but sometimes I feel it’s just not quite enough.
On the top photo, this is what my low lunges normally look like to give me a bit of a stretch in the hip. I was playing around with the wheel and found propping the front leg up while lunging is great to deepen the hip stretches. In the lower photo, it does take some balance to stay upright so I wasn’t able to add in the backbend. I rotated the opposite way to ensure my hips are squared. A variation of this pose would be to use the yoga wheel to practice the oversplits with if you extend the front leg and lock the wheel with the nook of your ankle.
Mermaid Pose with Yoga Wheel

3. Mermaid Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana variation)

The mermaid pose is such a beautiful and graceful pose! On the left is the mermaid pose which is a great pose for a full body stretch! On the right is the same pose on the yoga wheel.

If you’re feeling super comfortable in the mermaid pose, add the yoga wheel to make it a bit more challenging! Be mindful to take your time to get into and out of the pose. As you can see, you will be balancing with only one foot on the ground and the other thigh balancing on the wheel. This pose takes practice to figure out where the yoga wheel should contact your thigh.
Chest Stand with Yoga Wheel

4. Chest Stand

The chest stand, like the pigeon pose, was one of the poses I was never able to do before! If you have a moment to watch the YouTube video, you can see my futile attempts to kick into the chest stand. I’ve looked at other videos to suggest rolling onto your chest from a kneel. None of these work and I was never a fan of using momentum to get into poses.
On the left, I’ve screenshotted my embarrassing fail kick to chest stand. On the right, I discovered my back is more flexible than I thought and capable of doing chest stands!
To get into the chest stand with the yoga wheel, start by kneeling with knees at hip distance apart. Place the yoga wheel between your thighs and bend at your hips. The wheel should be wedged between your tummy and your thighs. Gently lower your upper body down with arms in chataranga position. Once your chin touches the mat, re-position your arms towards the wheel and grab the farther side of the wheel. Lift your legs off the mat and with control, bend backwards. Make sure to do this slowly  and keep your balance! If needed, use your hands to bring the wheel closer to your belly deepen the back bend. To safely exit the pose, engage your core to unbend your back and come back onto the yoga wheel. Remember to counter stretch with a child’s pose!
Child’s Pose with Yoga Wheel

5. Child’s Pose (Bālāsana)

The Yoga Wheel is also great for very simple poses like the corpse pose and child’s pose. While a regular child’s pose is a get resting pose, using the wheel adds a gentle stretch for the shoulders.
Forearm Stand with Yoga Wheel

6. Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana)

From the photos it doesn’t look like the yoga wheel played that much of a role in the forearm stand. But in this particular pose, the wheel gave me the confidence I needed to reach back into a forearm wheel pose from a forearm balance.

In the top photo, I was able to come up into a forearm balance but I was very hesitant to drop my back leg to touch the mat. The fear of toppling over, and landing on my back plagued me!

With the yoga wheel, I had something to hold onto with my hands to keep them in place. If at any point I was worried about the how far the ground was, I can always tap the wheel with my foot to give me the reassurance. Lastly, the wheel is there to help me exit the pose once I do land. I absolutely love how the Yoga Wheel literally has ‘got my back‘.

Wheel Pose with Yoga Wheel

7. Wheel Pose (Chakrāsana)

I’ve practiced the wheel pose for a few years and I’m proud to say I’m able to do this very comfortably. I do notice entry into the wheel pose was so much easier with the yoga wheel propping up your back! I think this is a great tool for those who are still learning to get their wheel pose. With the yoga wheel, your body is already half way up, your arms, legs and back only need a little bit more effort to push into this beautiful backbend.

For me, the yoga wheel was a fun prop to explore other wheel pose variations. Finding my balance, I lifted one foot and used the wheel to guide my foot to touch my head. This adds a new stretch to an all time favourite yoga pose!

Summary

The yoga wheel is a great yoga prop for beginners and more experienced yogis and yoginis. There are so many restorative yoga poses that can be enhanced by the yoga wheel. It’s great for deepening stretches as well as challenging yourself by incorporating a balancing component to a pose you’re already comfortable with. What I love most about the YogDev’s yoga wheel is the quality: it’s lightweight, strong, and its beautiful colours.
Let me know if you have a yoga wheel and what your favourite pose is! I’d love to try some new poses as well 😀

 

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Thank you so much to YogDev for the yoga wheel! 
The awesome yoga wheel used and reviewed in this blog post is provided by YogDev. 

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