Wheel Pose is an advanced yoga posture, and many practitioners want to master this pose to strengthen their arms, wrists, legs, abdomen, chest, and shoulders. It also tones your muscles, opens up your chest, and supplies nutrient-rich and oxygenated blood to your rib cage, leading to improved breathing and respiration.
Bear in mind that Wheel Pose is an essential pose that helps you practice advanced and deeper backbends. If you are new to yoga, this pose is not for you. It creates a great backbend foundation, allowing you to work your entire body, however it does require strength and flexibility.
In today’s article, we will discuss a few common mistakes yoga practitioners make while doing the wheel pose and talk about some poses to prepare your body for this intense pose.
Common Mistakes in Wheel Pose
Lumbar Spine Hyperextension
Hyperextending the lumbar spine (lower back) is the most common mistake practitioners make when in Wheel pose. If you contract your gluteus maximus or hip muscles intensely, it will tilt your pelvic up, leading to spinal compression and lower back hyperextension.
Splaying Knees & Feet
Splaying your knees and feet will compress your lumbar spine. Many people don’t squeeze a block between their thighs to keep their legs parallel. However, this is necessary if you have difficulty separating your legs. Make sure your feet do not turn out.
Bowing your Elbows
Bowing your elbows out to your sides is another common mistake while in Wheel. You can avoid this mistake by drawing your biceps in toward the ears. Likewise, if you fail to perform Happy Baby and Pigeon poses, you won’t master Wheel pose.
How to Prep for Wheel Pose
Wheel pose requires tremendous flexibility in your front body and strength in your back body. Experts recommend building strength in your arms, wrists, spine, hips, thighs, and chest to prepare for this pose. Here are a few preparatory yoga poses to build strength and flexibility in your entire body.
Cat Pose improves your core muscles, including the transverse abdominus muscle. It strengthens and stabilizes your abs and spine, allowing you to reduce the risk of spinal injuries.
- Begin on all fours with your knees under your hips and your palms under your shoulders.
- Arch your back from your shoulders and look between your palms.
- Press off the ground with your palms for a more intense stretch.
- Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
- Counterstretch this position with Cow Pose.
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Puppy Pose is an excellent preparatory pose for Wheel because it stretches your shoulders, spine, upper back, abdominal muscles, and arms. It is an easy inversion that releases tension in your neck, shoulders, and upper arms.
- Start the pose on all fours.
- Place your hips above your knees.
- Move your hands forward and sink down your chest toward the mat.
- Bring your forehead onto a block, mat, or the floor.
- Push into your palms lightly to engage your shoulders and arms.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades and take a deep breath.
- Let your torso sink down slightly with the exhalation.
- Feel a good stretch in your spine and shoulders.
Low Lunge Pose
Low Lunge Pose improves your quadriceps and hip flexors flexibility and stretches your upper body muscles. It opens your torso, chest, shoulders and strengthens your entire body. Here are the steps to get into Low Lunge to prepare your body for the Wheel pose.
- Start the pose in a forward fold position.
- Keep your palms on the mat.
- Step back your right leg on the floor.
- Lower your right knee down.
- Lift your arms over your head.
- Tuck your pelvis to elongate your lower spine.
- Feel a good stretch in your right hip.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Four-Limbed Staff Pose or Chaturanga Dandasana strengthens your wrists, arms, and lower spine. It also tones your abdominal muscles and prepares your body for arm balancing poses. It is somewhat similar to a push-up and strengthens your spinal muscles, leading to improved range of motion, balanced posture, and flexibility.
- Start in Plank.
- Place your knees down.
- Move your shoulders forward.
- Make sure your shoulders are stacked on your palms.
- Widen your collarbones while bending your elbows.
- Make sure your elbows are level with your shoulders.
- Push back up to the plank on your knees to build strength in your arms.
Wheel Pose is an advanced yoga posture in the backbend series. It requires a lot of body strengthen, focus, and mastering deep breathing techniques. The physical side of the Wheel pose is intense, meaning you need strength and flexibility in your entire body. Avoid the mistakes given above and follow these poses to prepare your body for the Wheel pose.