This pose is called the Wheel and is also called the Upward Bow. The first time I did this asana, it did not happen by itself. It felt uncomfortable. Which was logical because I did it wrong and put pressure on the wrong parts of the body. If you do the posture correctly, it gives a boost to your sense of happiness. The Wheel provides an intense stretch, especially in the chest. This makes it possible to breathe deeper, to the lowest level in the abdomen, and that increases the feeling of happiness. How that works and how you do this yoga pose (with more ease), you can read in my blog.
What is the Wheel pose?
This is an advanced reverse backward bend. In yoga jargon, this posture is called “Urdhva dhanurasana”. Urdhva means ‘upward’ and ‘dhanu’ is bow. In this pose there is a stretch of the entire spine. In addition to the spine, the muscles and joints of the legs and arms are also active. And the hip joint has an important role. The hip ensures that you can get off the ground in this pose. The stretch that develops creates space in the chest and therefore it is possible to breathe deeper.
What is the effect of the Wheel pose?
The intense stretch of the entire spine creates space in the chest and it is possible to breathe deeper towards the abdomen. Breathing towards the abdomen gives the feeling of rest and relaxation. This also lowers blood pressure and that stimulates the feeling of happiness. In particular, the pelvic back muscles that are deeper in the body are active in this asana. The abdominal muscles tighten to allow the spine to stretch. The hamstrings are active to keep the hips up and to be able to stretch them. The hamstrings are helped by the big gluteal muscle. The muscles in the shoulder ensure that the shoulder joint makes an inward rotation so that the chest can stretch. The muscles in the forearms and at the wrist joints ensure that there is stability.
This is how you do the Wheel
As a warm-up of the body, the Cobraand the Downward Dog are good preparatory postures for the Wheel. To get into the Wheel you start by lying on the back. The feet come to the ground with knees and feet at hip width. Extend the arms and let the fingers point back towards the head. Then place the hands next to the ears on the floor with the fingers pointing towards the shoulders. Breathe deeply and push the hips upwards on the exhale and then slowly stretch out the arms. Most of the body weight is on the hips, not on the arms. Release head and neck stay in this pose for a few breaths.
Do you have sensitive wrists or forearms? Before starting the Wheel, make circular movements with the wrists to make the muscles warmer. Or rest on two fists instead of on the hands.