How To Use A Yoga Wheel To Ease And Prevent Back Pain
If you’re one of the 60% of adults who suffer from back pain, you’ll know just how debilitating it can be. It’s the sort of thing that feels like a dark cloud looming over your day.
Today, I’m going to shine a ray of sun on your back pain management, in the form of a simple yet effective pain relief tool
It’s called the Yoga wheel!
Maybe you’ve seen one of these round plastic devices around your gym, yoga studio, or on Instagram and wondered what new sort of torture they’re for.
Yoga wheels, although relatively new on the scene, have become popular with people of all body care practices, from yoga and pilates, to cross fit, body building, and endurance sports.
Why are yoga wheels so popular and how do yoga wheels work?
Yoga wheels are extremely versatile which is definitely a huge factor in their increasing popularity. In fact, as a yoga teacher I would even go as far as to say that if I had to choose on yoga accessory to take to a desert island, this would be it. Yoga wheels can easily take the place of yoga blocks, bolsters, straps, and foam rollers.
Here’s a few of the ways yoga wheels can be used:
- As a support to modify poses
- As a tool for fascial and muscle release
- As a hook, in place of a strap
- To assist and deepen stretches
- As a moving base to activate muscles involved with stability and mobility
Can yoga wheel help my back pain?
Yes! There are a number of ways that a yoga wheel can bring your spine back to a healthy state. Let’s look at a few yoga wheel exercises you can try to release, unlock, and strengthen your body to combat back pain.
The next exercises are designed as a holistic approach to targeting and preventing back pain. We want to mobilise all parts of your back by going through a range a spinal movements, from back bends, to twists, to chest and shoulder openers.
We also want to strengthen the muscles that commonly cause back pain when weak. These include our entire core (back and front), and glutes.
YOGA WHEEL EXCERISES FOR MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY
Back massage with the yoga wheel
Start in a kneeling position with your feet a little wider than your hips. Place the wheel behind you at the base of your spine and recline back slowly over the wheel. Try taking a blanket between your your calves and hamstrings if you experience pain in your knees.
Place a wheel under you lower back and sacrum area with both feet on the floor. You can also try this with both legs extended onto the mat. If you feel any pinching in the lower back, try taking your legs wider, or, try using oner of the smaller wheels.
Start in child's pose, then take either side of the wheel out in front of you. Roll the wheel away from you slightly, and then let your hips melt back and your chest lower towards the ground.
You can also try a more active version of this stretch. Start in the same position but with your hands in prayer position (anjali mudra) on the wheel. Reach the arms away from you and arch the spine, then roll the wheel back towards you and curl through the spine.
YOGA WHEEL EXCERISES FOR STRENGTH & STABILITY
Start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the wheel. Press your feet into the wheel and activate your glutes and hamstrings to hold the wheel in place while you lift the hips up into a bridge position, and then back down to the mat.
This can be done with stretched legs too.
Plank with Wheel
Place both feet or shins on top of the wheel and come into a plank pose. Press strongly away from the mat to avoid sinking in the shoulders and draw the ribcage together at the front. Form is super important to get the most out of this pose.
To add an extra challenge, try bending your legs in and then stretching them back out into your plank.
Balanced revolved low lunge
Come into a lunge position with your back foot or shin resting on a wheel. Reach the opposite arm up towards the sky, aiming for length in the spine as you twist towards your front leg. For an extra strength building challenge, float your bottom hand off of the mat as well!
Cobra with wheel
Place the wheel infront of you as you perform your cobra back bend. This will give you some support while still requiring that you activate your back muscles. Hold until you feel some fatigue in you back.
Alternatively, begin on your belly with the the wheel in front of you. Place your hands in prayer position on top of the wheel. From there, come into your cobra by drawing the wheel towards you and lifting your chest off the mat.