Chakrasana is also called Urdhva Dhanurasana as it is a backbend. “Urdhva” means “Upward” and “Dhanur” means “Bow” and “Asana” means “Pose” or “Posture”.
Chakrasana is upward Dhanurasana.It is also called wheel pose because in the final position it resembles a wheel or a semicircular form or an upwards facing bow.
Chakrasana or Wheel Pose is said to give very good flexibility to the spine. And, when this asana is done as a part of gymnastics, it is also called Back Bridge.
Chakrasana or Wheel Pose is an intermediate or advanced backend pose which gives many benefits to the mind, body and the soul. This pose also helps in strengthening and toning of the back muscles.
It is very beneficial for people living a sedentary lifestyle i.e. – people who sir at desks or in front of computer for a long duration. This pose relives the stress and fatigue if practiced by these people regularly.
Steps to Do Chakrasana or Wheel Pose
- To practice Chakrasana or Wheel Pose, lie on your back with your knees bent on the floor or on the yoga mat.
- The heels of both the feet should touch the buttocks while lying on your back.
- The distance between your feet and knees should be around 30 centimeters while lying in this position.
- Place your palms on the floor beside the head in such a way that your fingers are pointing towards the shoulders.
- This is the beginning or starting position for Chakrasana or Wheel Pose.
- To practice Chakrasana or Wheel Pose, raise your body gradually in a way that the crown of your head supports the weight of your upper body.
- If you face any difficulty in balancing, you can move your hand in towards your body for more support if necessary while practicing Chakrasana or Wheel Pose.
- While lifting your body from the floor, try to straighten the arms and legs as much as possible to get in to the full pose.
- Try to lift up from the floor and arch the back as much as possible in the final position.
- Move your trunk towards your head to straighten your knees even further while practicing Chakrasana or Wheel Pose.
- Let your hand hang between the straight arms in the final Chakrasana position.
- Balance you body on the hand and balls of the feet for a few seconds and when you find uncomfortable lower your heels to balance the body on hands and feet.
- Maintain your breath and stay in this pose for as 20-30 breaths or for as long as you find comfortable.
- To release the pose, lower your head first to make it rest on the floor and then slowly and gently lower your whole body on the floor.
- This completes one round of Chakrasana or Wheel Pose.
- Practice at least 3-4 rounds for Chakrasana or Wheel Pose for maximum benefits.
Breathing Pattern to Follow While Practicing Chakrasana or Wheel Pose
- Breathe in the starting position while doing Chakrasana or Wheel Pose.
- Retain your breath while raising your body.
- Retain your breath while being in final position or maintain regular breathing while in final position.
- Exhale while lowering the body to the original position.
Benefits of Practicing Chakrasana or Wheel Pose
- Chakrasana or wheel pose gives a very good stretch to the lungs and chest. It also expands the shoulder and chest.
- It strengthens the liver, pancreas and kidneys.
- Chakrasana or Wheel pose yoga also stimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands thereby correcting the endocrine disturbances.
- It relieves lower back pains and increases the flexibility of the spine.
- It cures respiratory problems like asthma.
- It relieves various gynecological disorders like infertility.
- Chakrasana or Wheel Pose stimulates the digestive system and can help relieve constipation on regular practice.
- Chakrasana or Wheel Pose gives good stretch to the hip flexors, wrist flexors and your core.
- It relieves the stress and fatigue and makes the person more energetic and active.
- It also helps in getting rid of the fat from the abdominal area.
- It stimulates the nervous system by purifying the blood and gives peace and relieves tiredness of the day.
- It is also said to treat hernia if practiced regularly.
- Chakrasana or Wheel Pose is also said to reduce the onset of Osteoporosis.
- It is said to stimulate all the chakras on the body thereby keeping the processes of body in harmony with each other.
- Chakrasana or Wheel Pose also stimulates the cardiovascular system and strengthens the heart.
Precautions and Contraindications While Practicing Chakrasana
- Chakrasana or Wheel Pose should not be practiced by pregnant females.
- People suffering from spinal ailments like cervical and lumbar spondylitis should not perform Chakrasana or Wheel Pose.
- People who have weak wrists or who are unable to support the whole body on hands should not practice Chakrasana or Wheel Pose or practice it very carefully.
- People who have very frequent headaches and migraine should not practice Chakrasana.
- People with High blood pressure should also not perform Chakrasana.
- It is advised not to practice Chakrasana or Wheel Pose in cases of Carpel Tunnel syndrome and Tendonitis.
- If your lower back hurts while coming in this pose, you should immediately come back into the original position.
- People with Diarrhea should also not practice Chakrasana or Wheel Pose.
Tips While Practicing Chakrasana or Wheel Pose
- Chakrasana or Wheel Pose should always be practiced on a soft mat or soft carpet to prevent any damage to head while releasing Chakrasana.
- Chakrasana or Wheel Pose should be followed with forward bending asanas such as halasana and sarvangasana which apply a tight forward lock on the neck.
- If you do not have good spinal flexibility in the beginning, do not force your body to get in to full pose which can damage the spine. Always go as far your body allows. No need to overexert yourself while practicing Chakrasana or Wheel Pose.
- To relieve strain from the spine, it is advised to practice Matsyasana after practicing Chakrasana.
- For people who have good flexibility can practice advanced Chakrasana or Wheel Pose by keeping one leg on the floor and another leg kept straight in such a way that the sole of the feet faces the ceiling or sky. You can practice it with both legs, one being on the floor and another facing the sky.
- The most advanced variation of Chakrasana or Wheel Pose is done by walking the hands towards the feet and by folding the hands around the ankles.