Trends come and go, sure. But in the world of yoga and meditation, some things stick and stay for good.
Yoga wheels have only been around about 4 years, but its popularity is growing and has recently exploded over social media. What are they?
The yoga wheel is an accessory tool to aid in yoga poses, but also offers a highly effective way to stretch your spine for improved flexibility and health.
Basically if you have back problems, the yoga wheel might be a solution.
After purchasing one myself, I excitedly attempted stretching my back on the first day. But of course, my determination and lack of research caused MORE back pain the next day.
SO. I did my research to help myself and others approach the yoga wheel in a safer fashion.
Experiencing pain with any yoga related pose is a BAD sign and a reason to stop right away (let this be a disclaimer to anyone about to try the yoga wheel after reading this article).
Luckily, with some research and baby steps, anything can be possible.
So don’t worry! You will be able to use a yoga wheel more effectively in no time! Stay positive and read on.
Organization of this article:
- Benefits of the Yoga Wheel
- How to Approach as a Novice
- How to Excel
History of the Yoga Wheel
Many articles state that the “yoga wheel” is a new trend – wrong! It is about 4 years old.
But with so many brands out there (PeaceYoga, Gaiam, YogiWheel, SukhaMat, Aozora, Plexus Yoga, GreEco, Risefit, UpCircleSeven, URBNFit, etc.) it’s hard to tell which is best. It seems like every company and their mom manufactures a version of the yoga wheel.
Dharma Yoga Wheel (TM) founded their company and started “yoga wheel” in August 2014 with the hope that anyone (not just yoga enthusiasts) would use their invention to help aid in back bending and improve spine health. Professionally trained yoga instructors, Raquel Vamos and Dov Vargas, founded their yoga wheel creation in NYC and quickly became well-known around the world. But since then, their invention has been taken by SO many other companies all making their own (oddly similar) variation of the yoga wheel. Too many companies to count!
And although I love their invention, I must admit that I think there are many amazing versions out there that can provide similar quality and possibly more styles.
Benefits of the Yoga Wheel
So why use the yoga wheel?
It’s design fits just in between the shoulder blades and pinpoints the spine for greatest, most effective stretching. But to make things easier, let me make a list of the benefits associated with the yoga wheel.
- expands chest
- opens shoulders
- develops back flexibility
- stretches abdomen and hip flexors
- helps improve balance
- helps strengthen back bends, inversions, planks, and other yoga poses
If you do any sort of yoga, blocks are often use as a prop to help stabilize or enhance ability over time. Now imagine a yoga block that moves!
The yoga wheel can be used for a lot more than just stretching the spine.
As an aid in yoga, there are so many creative ways to help position your body while also adding an extra challenge to the balancing muscles.
If a rolling yoga block sounds too intense, don’t give up on the idea! You can start simple by applying yoga wheel stoppers for easier use. Then you can gradually work your way up to more “free” rolling positions.
On a side note, if you have a fancy yoga wheel these hand-crafted stoppers are useful in displaying your wheel as well – created by the original inventors: Dharma Yoga Wheel.
Worried about sanitation/quality?
USE CORK. Cork is the best cushion material you can use for several reasons:
- Natural and more eco-friendly
- Moisture resistant
Here’s the best I could find. The highest standard yoga wheel!
I would recommend cork yoga wheels for the best experience, since cork is antimicrobial, highly sustainable, soft/comfortable, moisture resistant, non-slip, and strong. A highly rated wheel often seen over the internet is the Yoloha Premium Cork Yoga Wheel.
- Made in the USA
- Over 5 different styles to choose from
- Holds up to 250 pounds
- Sustainably-sourced maple cork (sealed with organic beeswax) around poplar wood
- Non-toxic: free of PVC, plasticizers, and latex
- Click here to view on Amazon
Obviously this wheel pushes the budget a bit, so to be fair, I’ll present two other options.
Here are the best affordable cork yoga wheels (and if you notice, it’s nearly the same thing):
For only $30, the cork yoga wheel experience can be yours. But remember it is not as eco-friendly as the previous option. But it does offer similar benefits due to the cork material. Here are a few details to help you compare.
- Natural cork – easy to clean, prevents odor
- ABS plastic support up to 500 pounds
- “Factory-to-consumer” brand
- 100% satisfaction gaurantee
- Click here to view on Amazon
- Made in USA
- Premium cork, ABS, and TPE
- Less than $50
- Click here to view on YogaOutlet
For the most benefits, a cork yoga wheel works best!
If budget isn’t a concern, definitely go for the most eco-friendly option. But if you’re like me and always find yourself on a budget, then the cheaper brands can get the job done.
Obviously, no matter the materials or manufacturing process, the style between yoga wheels are all the same. Therefore, the benefits will always be the same.
But if you want the most out of your wheel, then go for cork!
My first wheel I bought is plastic with a foam exterior. It was very cheap because I’m on a budget, but I’m regretting my purchase now because the foam is coming off. The brand “Apana” looked reliable, but the foam is already peeling.
So spend wisely my friends!
How to Approach as a Novice
Important: the larger the wheel diameter, the easier it will be on your back!
If you’re a novice, try buying a larger wheel size such as a 15-inch for less pressure on your back.
If you notice this set of three Victorem Yoga Wheels, there’s a 15″, 13″ and 6″, each increasing in difficulty due to the pinpoint pressure on the spine.
The smaller the more effective! But the large, the easier.
BUT BEFORE you attempt the yoga wheel,
you must be aware of your current flexibility.
Those who currently practice yoga might already know how flexible their back is, but for those who don’t, STOP RIGHT THERE. You need to test things out first.
Recommended steps for yoga wheel preparation:
- While standing, stretch your arms upward (as if touching the ceiling)
- While keeping your back straight, stretch down to reach your toes and hold the position
- While on your back, place your feet on the ground with your knees-up and push (commonly referred to as the bridge pose or “Setu Bandha Sarvangasana”)
- In this position, focus on relaxing your back muscles and feel the stretch
If you’re relaxed and aren’t straining, you may be ready for the yoga wheel!
For the next step –
I would attempt the warm up routine creating by the founders of yoga wheel, explained in the video below. Why would I make my own video when you can learn from the creators themselves!
If this feels okay to your back so far, feel free to look further into DYW’s tutorial videos! They have a few great videos I would highly recommend
How to Excel
Want to go a bit further?
The creators of DYW (Dharma Yoga Wheel) created a poster of over 200 poses involving the yoga wheel. Couple poses to individual poses, literally everything they could think of when using the impressively handy yoga wheel!
this poster can give you MANY ideas for your own practice routine with your OWN wheel.
Apart from that – I’ll post an even more intense pose tutorial created by a co-inventor of the yoga wheel below:
From straps to yoga blocks, pants to yoga socks, this newest fad has a pretty great appeal for a reason.
The yoga wheel is by far one of the most useful tools to help improve your yoga routine. With the right purchase, this aid can last a lifetime with very little wear and tear.
What do you think of the yoga wheel? Do you find it useful? Are you scared of back pain? Let me know in the comments below! I swear to read and respond to each and everyone of them.
Articles you’ll find interesting:
- Best Yoga Mat Out of 40 Options
- Best Online Yoga Classes
- Top 14 Styles of Yoga
- Best White Yoga Pants
I hope you found this article useful!
And just to share in the glory of yoga equipment made from cork material, this is the set I’m currently saving up for – all cork! All eco-friendly. And might I say the minimalist color scheme looks very classy.
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