Yoga Pose of the Day: Upward Bow (Wheel)
Pose: Upward-facing Bow, or Wheel
Sanskrit Name: Urdhva Dhanurasana
Today's pose is not only about deepening into a backbend, but opening your heart as well. If you are newer to yoga, or don't have as much flexibility in your back, you can build up to this pose by practicing a basic Bridge pose or Camel pose. Here are six reasons why you should work on incorporating Wheel into your yoga practice:
Wheel strengthens and lengthens the vertebrae to help create space in the spine so that it stays flexible, tall and healthy. This is especially important as we get older, to combat the natural compression of the spine that typically occurs.
This pose creates a wonderful opening of the chest, which not only strengthens the lungs, but it opens your heart chakra and can help to heal and release any emotional or energetic blockages there.
It strengthens and helps tone your arms, wrists, chest, shoulders, legs, and abs.
Wheel improves the hormonal balance in your body to keep you in optimal health! Specifically, it stimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands.
Wheel pose can help to loosen tight hips, which is crucial for overall flexibility and health. This is especially beneficial if you sit at a desk all day!
It increases overall energy and counteracts depression and anxiety.
Keep these tips in mind when you are practicing Wheel pose: keep your feet and knees parallel rather than turned out; focus on engaging your quads and calves to hold yourself up rather than squeezing your glutes; actively draw your shoulders away from your ears to elongate your upper back and neck; and be sure to place equal weight in your hands and feet.
If you aren't sure whether you are ready for Wheel pose yet, take it slow by trying some easier backbends first. And always remember to warm up your body before going into a deep pose such as this one. Listen to your body, and release all judgement of how you think it should look. And most important of all, don't forget to breathe deeply!! Without your breath, the pose can't work it's magic.
~ Namaste ~