One day, a friend posted a photo of himself with a round thing he called “a yoga wheel“. He bent backwards quite impressively, for a guy. We all know how hard it get for most of male yoga participants to bend back. Is it another newly invented yogic fad? The answer depends on a lot of considerations.
Some say they don’t use one. They do asanas as much as they can to maintain the strength and flexibility of my body, but don’t put so much emphasis on perfecting it. “If I cannot bend backwards like it is seen in the Instagram photos, it is fine with me, it is not my strong point anyway,” says someone named Ayca Gurelman on quora.com after I uploaded the question.
Gülnihal Özdener who is trained in Dharma Yoga and having practiced for
“I have been using the Dharma Yoga Wheel for the last 15 months, and I have seen quite a big progress in my asana practice. The yoga wheel is originally used to deepen the backbends, by helping the body relax, the shoulders (and shoulder blades) open, and the spine lengthen without much effort. Basically, I see the wheel as a therapeutic tool for my scoliosis. As your practice with the wheel ‘advances’, it is also a great tool to make your practice trickier by trying balancing poses on the wheel. Personally, the first time I found the balancing point of Pincha Mayurasana was while I was practicing with the wheel. If you check out different tutorial videos, you can see for which poses it can be used.
Please, don’t be tricked into the Insta wheel madness – the wheel accounts use the most ‘accomplished’ yoga practitioners for their promotion. You know, due to marketing reasons… Yet, yoga wheel is not just for freakishly difficult asanas, nor only the ‘perfect’ male/female body types could benefit from them.
If your goal is to deepen your backbends or challenging your asana practice, a yoga wheel is a nice, therapeutical prop. You can even use it in your daily life; if you are to watch the TV, just lean your back on the wheel and enjoy the show you’re seeing, while your shoulder blades open!
Here it might be good to specify what the purpose of your yoga asana practice is – what is the goal you are trying to achieve, or the benefits you have in mind?As per the traditional practice and scriptures of the ancient science of yoga, Asana is an integral part of the system of Yoga, as described by Maharishi Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras and other main scriptures on this discipline. In his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali defines Asana as that which is ‘comfortable’ and ‘steady’: sthirasukham asanam. Asana is a means to strengthen the body and make it healthy and capable to sit comfortably and steadily for meditation, which will allow us to experience our true Nature. So here (extreme) flexibility is an added benefit of asana practice, it is not the goal.Traditionally yoga does not use any such tools or props, and they are therefore not a necessity or requirement for any proper asana practice. A yoga wheel might help you if you are very keen to do certain backward bends or asanas, but that is all. It is not required if you have a proper teacher and practice though.I hope this answers your question… 🙂