New Delhi: Chakrasana, popularly called the Wheel Pose, is also known as Urdhva Dhanurasana (upward-facing Bow Pose). It is a deep backbend posture and gives flexibility and strength to the spine. This pose should not be performed without a proper warm-up. Before practicing this asana, you can begin with sukshma vyayam or subtle exercises to prepare your body for this pose.
Practice a few cycles of Surya Namaskar and follow it up with asanas such as Bhujangasana, Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana, and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. Hold each posture for 15-30 seconds, this ensures that your back is thoroughly ready for deep backbends and reduces the risk of injury to the body.
How to Perform Chakrasana or the Wheel Pose
Chakrasana can be done from both standing and sleeping positions. If you are a beginner, start from the lying down posture, and as you build your strength and spine flexibility, and overcome any fear, you can practice from a standing position.
Begin by lying down on your back and fold your legs, placing your feet firmly on the floor. Reverse your palms and place next to your ears or under your shoulders. Your fingers should be pointing forward. As you inhale, press your palms and feet into the ground for support, lift up your pelvis by straightening your arms and legs.
Initially, you can place the top of your head down. Slowly, lift your entire body up to form an arch. Relax your neck by letting your head fall gently behind. Keep your weight equally distributed between your limbs.
Formation of the posture:
- Fold your legs at your knees and ensure that your feet are placed firmly on the floor
- Place your palms next to your ears, with fingers pointing forward
- Inhale, put pressure on your palms and legs and lift your entire body up to form an arch
- Allow your head to fall gently behind and keep your neck relaxed
- Keep your body weight evenly distributed between your four limbs
- Breathing Methodology: Inhale while lifting the body up
Benefits of Chakrasana or the Wheel Pose
- The chest expands and the lungs get more oxygen – this makes the pose especially beneficial for asthma patients
- It reduces the stress and tension in the body
- Sharpens eyesight
- This asana helps to strengthen the back and increases the elasticity of the spine
- It reduces the fat in the abdominal area and tones the digestive and reproductive organs
- It strengthens the muscles of the hands and the legs
- It stimulates the endocrine glands and maintains the body metabolism at an optimal level
- It stimulates the processes of the liver, spleen, and kidneys
- It enhances the purification and circulation of blood
- It gives peace and clarity of thought
- It removes tiredness and makes you feel energised
- It is good for infertility and osteoporosis
- It builds stamina
- It removes dullness from the body and mind
A word of caution
The posture is not recommended for practitioners suffering from any kind of back injury or spinal problems. Those who have a condition of glaucoma, and/or high blood pressure should avoid this pose. Since Chakrasana puts a load on the wrists, so, if you feel you do not have enough strength in your arms or wrists to lift up, try doing this pose from a chair. Avoid this pose in case of any disc compression.
Pregnant women are advised to refrain from performing Chakrasana in the later stages of pregnancy. Women who are menstruating may do this pose from a chair.
Please avoid Chakrasana in case of:
- Cardiac issues
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Imbalanced blood pressure
- Practitioners suffering from acute or later stages of hernia
- Chronic pain or injury in arms, hips, shoulders or back
- Vertigo, high blood pressure
- Any injury to the wrist or neck
After you practice Chakrasana, you can follow it up with spinal twisting postures such as Ardha Matsyendrāsana or Supta Padangusthasana to relax and stretch the muscles of your back. Rest in Shavasana for 15-30 seconds, alternatively, you could also bring your knees up to your chest and tuck your nose between your knees in Pawan Muktasana. These follow up poses help release any strain from your back region.