Week 14 : Year 2 : TriYogaSchool
This week we take on a big back bend : UrdhvaDhanurasana or UpwardFacingBow Pose
🔻 The common name for this pose is #WheelPose which is apt. A wheel represents a uniform circle, & our intention is to create as much uniformity in the arch as possible. To do so, we need to find the bend all the way from the lower legs to the wrists.
🔻 Because this pose is so demanding - it requires a warm-up! A wise prep would include Sun Salutations, standing & seated twists, & simple backbends. If your shoulders & upper chest are tight, work with puppy pose & shoulder flexion (arm overhead) stretches.
🔻 Start lying on your back, set up for bridge pose with your heels hip distance apart & close to your sitting bones.
🔻 On an inhale, reach your arms over head, plant your palms next to your ears, with fingers pointing toward shoulders. On an exhale, press into your hands & feet to lift the back of your head off the mat. Arch your head back, & put the top of your head on the mat.
🔻 Pause here & take a breath. Assure your upper arms are parallel to each other for maximum force strength. Make sure your feet are pointing straight ahead - avoid turn out to avoid over compressing the low back. Maintain the feet positions by strongly engaging & internally rotating your inner thighs.
🔻 When you are ready, again push into hands & feet & lift head off the mat as you straighten your arms. Let your head hang - no neck tension!
🔻 If you feel comfortable, walk your hands & feet closer to each other. Utilize the strength in your legs to press your upper body toward the head end of your mat. Remember! To deeply stretch the front of the body - it takes a STRONG engagement of the back of the body. Take several breaths to FEEL the pose.
🔻 To come out, bend your elbows, lower slowly, & tuck your chin toward your chest. Rest on your back for several breaths & then repeat. Take a minimum of 3 Wheel Poses. Follow up with GENTLE twisting & forward folding to counterbalance.
✔️ PROPS for better access :
1/ I highly encourage taking a #BridgePose prior to wheel. The shape of the spine trains the body for the bigger pose to come, without the strain of the pushup. As you bridge, press your entire arm : shoulder to wrist : into the MAT for leverage & lift.
2/ Another less strenuous way to practice is to use a CHAIR & STRAP. Make sure the edge of the back of the chair is at your shoulder blades. Also note : keep your feet on the chair legs so it doesn’t tip!
3/ Another option is to take the pose standing at the WALL. Again, the bend is the same, but the effort to enter the pose is reduced.
4/ To deepen your wheel, enter the pose with your wrists at the WALL. Press up & then work to move your chest to the WALL.
✔️ VARIANTS for better access :
1/ One of the major challenges in Wheel Pose is lifting UP. If shoulder flexibility limits you, prop 2 BLOCKS at the WALL, shoulder distance apart. The blocks give you a little lift so the first few inches are not so difficult.
2/ If you feel you are more limited by strength, try placing your feet on BLOCKS. Place them against the WALL so they don’t slide.
✔️ VARIANTS :
I always recommend at least 3 repetitions of Wheel Pose when you are practicing. Feel free to vary your wheel, once you feel competent in the basic form. I offer 4 variants, but the possibilities are endless!
Let me know how it goes! 🔸Be creative, be agile, have fun!