Reinventing the Wheel

By Amber Burke, Yoga International

Chakrasana or wheel pose, also known as urdhva dhanurasana or upward bow pose, is a backbend that strengthens the arms and legs and stretches the hip flexors and shoulders. If you’ve felt tired after your asana practice (despite savasana), it might be that you could use a wheel (or two or three). Chakrasana is an exhilarating pose, perhaps due either to the effort it requires or to the fresh view it provides-that of the world behind you, turned upside down.

It’s tempting to rush into wheel, as we do into other exhilarating experiences: after all, if we pause before jumping out of the plane, we think we might lose heart and fail to make our skydive. But since wheel’s maximum benefits and safety depend on the parachute of healthy alignment, instead of throwing yourself heedlessly into the pose, take your time and follow the steps below. This will help you move into it with a long spine, a solid base of support, and properly placed shoulders.