Wheel or upward cow pose in Sanskrit, Chakrasana is a fun and challenging back-bending yoga pose. Here is some important information you should know before we get started.
This pose boosts energy, improves digestion, constipation, increases appetite, and increases flexibility in the spine as well as strengthen it. The lower abdomen stretch allows your interior organs to improve in function. This pose also stretches your quadriceps from your knee joint. Your arms and legs are also strengthened in this pose.
Caution: Contradictions include any wrist and back injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome. Avoid this pose if you have diarrhea, headache, heart conditions, or high or low blood pressure.
Let’s get Started
Step 1: Start laying down on your yoga mat with the feet hip-width apart, slightly on the outer edge of your hips because you don’t want them too narrow. You want the knees to track straight over the ankles. You can start to feel the strength of the legs and the firm foundation of the feet.
Step 2: Swing your arms overhead and bend at the elbows. Take your hands under the shoulders, close to the ears. This is the place where you can set yourself up for success in the pose. If the elbows are too wide to start off then you’re going to set the shoulder rotation up in the least ideal way possible. So try to keep the elbows tracking right over the hands, which will let the shoulder blade drop down the back and create a nice sense of opening in the upper back. You need to be vigilant about this as you straighten the arms. You might not have the strength to go all the way.
Step 3: Inhale, come to the top of your head as you press through the hands and feet. Rest on your head as you watch the shoulders stay in a nice firm rotation. You could inhale to the top of your head. You can check your shoulder alignment to make sure that it maintains its structural integrity.
Step 4: If you have been able to maintain the correct alignment so far, then we can go for full wheel pose. Press again through the hands and feet as you arch the back and lift up your head.
Keep the shoulders rotating back and down the back and the elbows and the shoulders tracking right over the hands. You should have a nice space between the shoulders and the ears, showing that your shoulder girdle is open. Also, keep the mouth closed as this provides a deeper stretch for the neck. As the shoulders rotate you can provide an even deeper backbend.
Step 5: After a nice 5 breaths, you can come down, making sure to track the elbows as you bend the knees and rest on the back.
Modification: If your armpits are tight you can modify by placing two blocks braced by a wall under your hands to help n your backbend.
Tip: For beginners whose knees are splaying outwards, you can use a looped yoga strap around the legs to maintain alignment, which keeps the pressure out of the back area.