WHEEL POSE – URDHVA DHANURASANA
Also known as Upward Bow or Chakrasana, for the stimulation that it provides to the whole physical and energetic body, especially at the level of your Heart and Throat.
Perform Wheel Pose if you are physically prepared to, and you will feel energized and rejuvenated!
- Lie supine on the floor and bend your arms backwards placing your palms at the side of your head, fingers spread pointing your shoulders. Bend also your knees placing your feet on the floor and your heels next to the sitting bones.
- You are now going to lift your body off the floor on two movements. On a first exhalation, press your feet into the ground vigorously and push your sit bones towards your pubis to detach legs and back from the floor and place the crown of your head on it. On a second exhalation, press your hands on the floor and try to straighten your arms.
- You are now in Wheel Pose! To hold it correctly, keep your thighs and feet parallel, push your pubis toward the navel and bring your shoulder blades towards the lower back. Relax your throat and neck: your head will be hanging naturally.
If you are performing in the right way, your body should create a unique line going from your heels to your wrists. Do not try to straighten your legs, which might put strain on your spine and doesn’t meet the purpose of the pose.
Hold Urdhva Dhanurasana up to 5 breathe cycles if you are at ease in it, just for a while I you are learning the pose.
- In case you find it difficult to reach the full position, help yourself placing your feet on two blocks or other safe support: this will make it more difficult to detach your whole body off the floor, but also make your spine’s arch less deep. Be careful: place the block or support by a wall and maybe cover it with your mat so that it doesn’t slip away!
- If you can hold the pose easily, challenge yourself by tightening your arch: you can walk your feet toward your hands until you feel a mild tension in your body. Do not exaggerate!
- If you are comfy in the pose, challenge yourself with Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana (One-legged Wheel Pose), detaching one foot off the floor and lifting your leg up, at least at a 45°angle with the floor.
BENEFITS AND SYMBOLIC MEANING
Wheel pose produces similar benefits to Bridge Pose: in fact, it provides a nice stretch to your front body (hip flexors, core, chest and shoulders) and strengthens the back body (calves, hamstrings, buttocks, spine and dorsal muscles). Likewise, it improves digestion and the functioning of abdominal organs, while relieving stress and anxiety thanks to the inverted attitude.
Further, Upward Bow has proven to be valuable to solve breathing problems such as asthma and poor respiration, thanks to such an open posture that is so far away from our usual. It is able to stimulate the thyroid and pituitary glands.
Going to a deeper level, the pose can owe its name “Chakrasana” because it displays the 7 Chakras on a unique arch, contributing to the activation of the whole energetic body at once. The beneficial turnout of the pose has been proved, and the Western society describes it as “enhancement of the nervous system”, for the stress alleviation and for the sense of wellbeing conferred by the asana.
Finally, it can be considered the queen among backbends, the category of poses regarded as capable of healing broken hearts from past pains that might have caused a block in our emotions. So allow yourself to be vulnerable and open your heart to arising emotions.
You’ll find inner peace, energy and love: love to give and love to get!