How to do Wheel Pose

Understand the essential components of this yoga backbend with our how-to guide.

Wheel pose, or Urdvha Danurasana, is the peak pose in the yoga backbending series, requiring strength, breath and focus.

It’s important to warm up before practicing Wheel pose. Start by flowing through standing and balancing postures. Then, practice Bridge pose. Once you’re comfortable with Bridge, you can then move on to Wheel.

Make sure to breathe deeply throughout the pose and take your time coming in and out of the stretch.

PURPOSE OF THE POSE

Helps stretch the chest, core and back of the body. Can strengthen the arms and legs.

HOW TO

  • Lie flat on your back
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the mat, slightly closer than hips-width distance and near your glutes to a comfortable degree
  • Place your hands next to your ears with your fingertips pointing toward your shoulders
  • Press your hands and feet down to lift your hips up
  • Use the strength of your arms and legs for support
  • Relax your neck
  • To release, gently lift your chin toward your chest. Slowly lower to the mat, rolling down from back of the head to tailbone

COMMON MISTAKE

Avoid bowing your elbows out to the sides. Aim to draw your biceps in toward your ears.

Try to hold Wheel pose for as many comfortable breaths as possible. Finish your practice with a few hip-opening poses, such as Half Pigeon and Happy Baby.