This weekend, I spent a magical time up in Sedona, practicing yoga and enjoying the company of my husband. We ventured to the top of a vortex in the area, onto some beautiful, flat red rocks overlooking the entire city and other red-rock sculptures. The
energy on top of this vortex was so wonderfully powerful, we couldn’t help but just lay down, bask in the sun and pick up the beautiful swirling vibrations around us. We did find the time to practice a bit of yoga, though, when the crowds died down and we were somewhat alone. Amidst the beautiful energy, I thought it would be a excellent time to open my heart with some backbends.
The wonderful heart opener, Wheel Pose, is one of my favorites. In fact, I used to do this pose all the time as a child, and had no idea that it was such a powerful yoga pose. At that time, I thought I was just being a gymnast or ballerina. At 27, I am still doing those pose regularly in my daily yoga practice.
Wheel pose, or Urdhva Dhanurasana, takes a lot of strength. It strengthens the legs, arms, abdomen, and spine. Wheel Pose stretches the chest and lungs, stimulates the thyroid and pituitary gland, and increases energy within the body. On top of it, it is a wonderful heart opener, allowing your heart chakra to balance and the energy to flow freely.
Quoting from Gaia, a beautiful mantra to perform during Wheel Pose:
Invocation to Patanjali, author of the Yoga Sutra
This mantra, a chant invoking one of the forefathers of yoga, is often used at the beginning of classes or as an introduction to chanting the Yoga Sutra. This mantra reminds us of the healing powers of yoga and, when used at the beginning of your practice, can serve as a way to honor the history of yoga and give thanks to its lineage of teachers and the goddesses we connect with during this pose. Reciting this mantra can help remind us that yoga is meant to purify our minds, heal our bodies and impress upon us the importance of speech and breath during our practices.
yogena chittasya padena vacham malam sharirasya cha vaidyakena yo ’pakarottam pravaram muninam patanjalim pranjalir anato ’smi
With palms folded together, I bow respectfully to Patanjali, the best of sages, Who dispels the impurities of the mind with Yoga, Of speech through Grammar, and of the body by means of Medicine.”
To practice Wheel Pose:
- Begin in a supine position on the floor. Set your feet on the floor directly underneath your knees at a 90 degree angle.
- Spread your palms on the floor over your head, bending at the elbows. Gather stability and balance here. Point the fingers towards the shoulders.
- Inhale, pressing your feet firmly into the floor, and exhale pushing your body upwards, firming the glutes, while pressing evenly into the floor with your hands, lifting the chest and head off the floor.
- Allow the head to hang softly, not lifting the head too high or straining the neck. You’re in Wheel!
Before trying Wheel Pose, try coming into Bridge pose first. Perfect this, by strengthening the glutes and the lower back, and then add in the arms coming into full Wheel. This is an advanced backbend, and I do want to caution that anyone with back issues, migraines, high blood pressure, or heart problems should NOT practice Wheel pose.
Enjoy, and snap a photo of you in Wheel and post it in the comments!
Love and Light.