The Wheel Pose and its Benefits

The wheel pose is a backbend asana that straightens your legs, arms, and back. You probably know this pose after its other name: the upward bow. This is how some yoga lovers and enthusiasts call this asana. No matter how you name it, you must learn how to do it correctly to achieve all the benefits it has to offer. Here are some effective tips on how to perfect the wheel pose as well as its main benefits.

Mind Your Feet’s Position

During the entire pose, you must maintain your balance by keeping your feet parallel as well as at a hip-width distance. When you start this pose, your hips will move into an extension which increases the angle formed between your belly and thighs. The muscle that works the most will be the gluteus which will not only help extend your hip but will also rotate your thighs outwards. Some people might complain about the fact that this pose puts quite some pressure on their lower spine around their sacroiliac joint. Therefore, you must adjust your legs and align your body until you feel relaxed and comfortable.

Focus More on the Legs Rather than the Hands

It is true that the wheel pose engages all your limbs, both hands, and both legs. Still, most of the focus and effort should come from your legs. In other words, when you bend your back to form the wheel, you must push or press your feet into the ground to lift your body and arch your back a little more.

Lift Your Heels

Some of you might benefit from lifting the heels. This might provide a bit more bend through your spine. However, be careful not to lift your toes along with your heels. Also, if you don’t have enough experience in doing the wheel pose, you should wait until you perfect it to lift the heels.

Push Your Back from Your Thoracic Area

Work the back bend from your mid-back area. Our thoracic part of the spine is a bit stiff because of the way the ribs are attached in that area. Therefore, you should first extend your arms up high facing the ceiling. Then, you must wrap both elbows in as much as you can and open your chest. Lift your sternum while arching your back. From there, you can push with your feet into the floor to lift up your torso and create a beautiful arch.

Benefits of the Wheel Pose

This pose will stretch almost all major muscles in your body.

It is a great heart opener; it will strengthen your heart muscle.

It improves the pituitary gland and thyroid functions.

It boosts energy and lowers depression, stress, and anxiety.

It increases balance and flexibility.

Summing It Up

The wheel pose is a great asana with plenty of benefits for your body, spirit, and mind. It develops your sense of space while improving your nervous system function. One of its secrets lies in your legs’ strength. Another one, equally important, is the way you start bending your spine: it must be done from your thoracic area. Apply the above tips, and let us know how well you can perform this pose.


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The Case for Loose Yoga Apparel

The popularity of yoga in Western countries such as the United States and Canada is relatively new. However, it is important to recognize that while yoga is new to the West, it originated in the East and has been practiced there for centuries. One of the biggest draws of yoga is that it has hundreds of years of widespread cultural use to prove its benefits. As modern yogis, we must acknowledge, be grateful for, and get in touch with the culture that has taught us so much about mindfulness and physicality. Here is one lesson about yoga apparel we can learn from the place where yoga originated.

In the United States, yoga fashion often focuses on clothing that hugs the body. So Western yogis may be surprised to learn that in India, the birthplace of yoga, yogis typically wear loose, breathable apparel. This difference between worlds has a lot to do with other cultural factors, but there are a few reasons why looser clothing may be the way to go. First, yoga is all about the breath. It’s about loosening the muscles, relaxing, and deepening our breathing patterns. Loose yoga clothing, such as wide legged, cotton pants and wraps allow our bodies to move in all sorts of ways without tension or restriction. Leggings or tops that are too tight may be constricting you in ways you aren’t even aware of.

There is also a beautiful aesthetic that comes along with looser yoga apparel. Watching a class of yogis glide into half-moon pose is truly an artistic sight, especially when the practitioners are draped in colorful fabrics. Practicing outside, these looser fabrics move with the wind, offering sensations that serve to focus the mind. Finally, it makes perfect sense that the culture and people who introduced the gift of yoga into the world have the deepest understanding of it. In the West, we often get sidetracked by ideas that yoga is primarily for weight loss or for obtaining a perfect body.

In reality, yoga goes much deeper. It is the path to mindfulness and spiritual connection between the mind and the body as much as it is a physical exercise. We would do well to get in touch with this rich history and culture, as it can deepen our practices in untold ways. Ultimately, your practice can serve you whether you wear loose or tight-fitting clothing. But learning about where yoga came from and the culture that still practices it today (in very different ways than we do) is both necessary and beneficial for serious practitioners.

If you take the time to learn about where this form of exercise comes from, you may be surprised at the ways your practice takes flight. More than tightening your belly or improving digestion, yoga can be a lifestyle that teaches you about yourself in the most spiritual way.


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Yoga: A Stress Buster

Many things happen in your life which leads to stress. Even when young, you got to deal with a very busy timetable – have to get up early for school, need to study late in nights for exams, do some sports practice, need to take a proper diet. It leads to creating an extreme balance in our lives.

Other than this, there are many issues related to everyday life which lead to emotional stress – talking to a friend about the break-up, repenting over a quarrel with your parents, while carrying out an important decision, and so on. Having so much on your mind will automatically generate stress.

In a way, many people have started to accept stress as a part of their lives. It can’t be avoided, and as every single person is affected, you need to learn to handle it. Kids suffer from stress at school, youngsters at college, adults from career-making, elders during their retirements, parents while raising their children and so on. Everyone is busy in chasing the moments with their pre-defined deadlines and without having spare time to take a pause and breathe.

Why Yoga Offers Stress Relief?

There are many ways to overcome stress. Talk to a friend, do some exercise, or visit a counselor. One of the fascinating ways of doing so is yoga. Yoga lowers the stress in your life as it inhibits the feeling of relaxation in your mind. Yoga benefits three sections of our life which may get affected by stress: breathing, mind, and body.

Stress may lead to creating tension in your muscles, disruptions in your mind, and it can make your breathing difficult. All of these aspects leave a great effect on the health of your whole body. That’s why it is very crucial to work out daily to get rid of stress.

You don’t need to wait to develop stress in your life to perform yoga. Those who do even a little yoga every day, they often find it better to manage the things which make their life imbalanced. Doing yoga makes you able to remain calm, concentrated on positive feelings, balanced and relaxed.

Yoga is More Than Stretching

The majority of people consider yoga only as stretching your body while making various weird pretzel shapes. But, yoga is much harder than it seems. There are very simple postures which everyone can do as well as many complex shapes, which are not easy to handle. Amazingly, yoga doesn’t require any particular equipment or machine; you can do it anywhere you want to.

The yoga moves are good exercises which aid your muscles in losing tension. Those parts of your body which carry a large amount of stress like necks, shoulders, and back undergo stretches during yoga which make them relax. Other than providing the exquisite physical fitness, yoga plays the vital role in balancing your mental condition and easing your breathing too.

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The Magnificent Art of Inversions


Inversions are yoga postures where the head is lower than the heart. This includes headstand, forearm stand and handstand. Downward facing dog and dolphin pose are also a gentler form of inversion.

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The brain triggers fear once it is inverted because our body isn’t naturally designed that way. But what is natural is to feel fear when one is just starting to dive into the journey of inversions. But great things often times have scary beginnings. Practicing against the wall helps psychologically in reducing the fear of falling back and hurting yourself while learning. But once inversions become an individual‘s 2nd nature, there are enormous amount of benefits it extends both to the body and the mind.

More than 60% of our body is composed of water making it very responsive to any change in altitude and gravitational pulls.

Inversions help lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation.

Working against gravity regulates the flow of blood. Freshly oxygenated blood flows from the lungs and provides oxygen to the brain, promoting improvement in its overall performance. The lower body is drained of its fluids during an inversion as a reaction to gravity. Venus return is a system of single way valves at alternate points that stops any slipstream of the fluids and assure that they are traveling to the heart. A person has to make his/her heart pump at a very high rate doing cardio, such as running, to get the fluids circulating downwards towards feet. Inversions offers a gentler way to regulate circulation with the aid of gravity.

Enhance immunity and aids detoxification.

Inversion stimulates the lymphatic system of our body. Our lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating the bacteria and toxins in our body and it functions as a reaction to gravity and muscle contractions. Being inverted gives the lymph nodes a boost to easily white blood cells and antibodies to one of the most toxic parts of the human body, our respiratory system. It is like the sewage system of our body, keeping us healthy and flushing away the toxins.

Develop balance, strength of the upper body and core.

The body must act as one. Not as parts, but as one. Control your body to hold itself while inverted. Most of our lives, we are on our feet. Putting weight on our arms would require strength and balance and both can be developed as you go deeper into yoga. Regular practice of engaging the core to keep alignment, moving the body as a single system and supporting your weight with arms, even if you are practicing against a wall, will constantly build your strength and familiarize your muscles to the movement.

Upgrades focus.

Breathing is a great way to calm the mind and body. Inversions demands great focus and if you approach the posture with hesitation, fear or anxiety, your arms will wiggle. This will cause your body to become tense and eventually you will fall, hurting yourself. You have to be in the moment. Release yourself of any fear, focus on your breathing, listen to your body and accept that things takes time. Do not force yourself to do anything that hurts or you will end up with an injury.

Build confidence.

Isn’t if fun to learn something new? Know you can defy your own mind. Achievement is when you have properly inverted yourself. But what plays a big part in this is the developed sense of patience and humbleness as you slowly build your strength and familiarize yourself with the techniques. You will gain an understanding of your body and what it can and cannot do. The calmness of the mind as you become conscious of the happenings both on and off the mat will become imminent, and that is a priceless prize!

Note that not everyone is meant for inversions. Please consult your doctor first if you have any previous medical issues before starting with this practice. Be mindful with the movements, with your breathing and your thoughts. When done with good intentions, surely the benefits of inversions will reward you with enormous treasures!

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