Chakrasana/Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose/Upward Bow)

English Name(s)
Chakrasana
Wheel Pose
Sanskrit
चक्रासन / Chakrāsana
Pronunciation
cha-KRUH-suh-nuh
Meaning
chakra: “wheel”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Chakrasana (cha-KRUH-suh-nuh) benefits the nervous, digestive, respiratory and glandular systems, stretching the inner organs fully. It also strengthens the spine, thighs and buttock muscles, while increasing flexibility of the hips. This pose also brings blood to the brain, therefore nourishing it. It is a good pose to remove sluggishness of the body and builds stamina.

Chakrasana, otherwise known as wheel pose, is a powerful yoga pose that can provide a wide range of benefits. It is considered an intermediate to advanced pose, so it’s important to take your time and practice the necessary steps to master it. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about Chakrasana – from how to get into the pose correctly, to the benefits you can expect to experience. Let’s get started!

The review of a study suggests that yoga has positive effects on the psychophysiological level, which leads to increased academic performance in college students.

Muscle Focus

Wheel Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Gluteus (Hip Muscles)
  • Pectoralis (Chest Muscles)
  • Biceps
  • Deltoids (Shoulders Muscles)
  • Hamstrings
  • Tibialis posterior
  • Calf Muscles

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • It helps to relieve tensions in the spine.
  • Increases arms and legs strength.
  • Improves Blood Circulation to the head.
  • Opens up the Heart.

Benefits of Wheel Pose

1.  Helps to Alleviate Spine Related Issues

It is a way of keeping your back straight when you are working, reading, or doing anything else for long periods of time. Chakrasana can help to alleviate issues related to the spine, such as kyphosis, scoliosis, and lordosis. These conditions occur due to poor posture that leads us into a hunched position over time. Chakrasana is an excellent way of strengthening your back and shoulders while stretching out tight muscles in these areas so you feel better overall!

2.  Strengthens Your Core Muscles

Chakrasana will strengthen all core muscles including those around your abdomen (abs), hips, pelvis, and lower back – which are essential for good posture! This yoga pose also helps with digestion by stimulating peristalsis (the movement of food through the intestines) thanks to its inverted nature; it’s like doing crunches but upside-down.

3. It strengthens Arms, Legs, Buttocks, Abdomen, and Spine

It strengthens the arms, shoulders, and wrists, as well as the legs, buttocks, and tummy, as well as the complete spine. Chakrasana increases spinal mobility too when practiced regularly; this will help you avoid back pain caused by sitting at your desk for hours on end. Chakrasana also helps extend and expand both chest muscles (pectorals).

4. Promotes Healthy Blood Circulation in Your Body

Chakrasana greatly improves blood circulation throughout your entire body! It’s especially beneficial if you suffer from low pressure / high BP or poor circulation due to diabetes or heart disease. Chakrasana is also beneficial for those who have arthritis because it increases the strength of bones and muscles, which reduces the pain associated with these conditions. Chakrasana will make you feel stronger all over by improving your posture as well! Chakrasana can help improve sleep patterns too thanks to its energizing nature; try practicing this pose before bedtime if you suffer from insomnia due to anxiety or stress

5. Improves Digestion and Elimination

Chakrasana helps digestion and elimination by stimulating peristalsis in both directions (the movement of food through the intestines). Chakrasana improves the flow of blood throughout your entire body, which allows nutrients to be transported more effectively – thus aiding digestive processes like absorption.

6. Stimulates Endocrine Glands such as Pituitary and Thyroid Glands

The Chakrasana pose is a vigorous and energizing position that is thought to boost energy levels by activating the thyroid as well as pituitary glands. Chakrasana is a great way to start your day or as an afternoon pick-me-up; it’s like taking a mini yoga class that will leave you feeling invigorated and refreshed!

7. It Improves Nervous System Response

Chakrasana is a great way to improve the nervous system response overall. This pose helps to calm the mind and release any tension or stress that has built up in the body. Chakrasana also aids in concentration and focus, making it perfect for those who want to increase their productivity during the day!

8.  Improves Blood Circulation to the Head

The inverted nature of Chakrasana causes a rush of blood to the head, which is beneficial for those who suffer from conditions such as migraines, sinusitis, and even vertigo. Chakrasana also helps improve lymphatic drainage, which can be helpful in cases of edema (swelling) or post-operative swelling. Chakrasana is an all-around great pose that provides a variety of benefits for your overall health!

9.  It helps to Build Stamina and Strength

Chakrasana is a challenging pose that takes time and practice to perfect. However, the benefits of this yoga pose are well worth the effort such as it builds Stamina and Strength. As with all poses, be sure to start slowly and build up gradually.

Contraindications

Those with high blood pressure, glaucoma, and detached retina should avoid this pose. If the wrist is weak try doing this pose from a chair to remove the weight of the body from the wrist. If there is any disc compression avoid this pose. Also, avoid this pose in the later stage of pregnancy. Women who are menstruating can do this pose from a chair, which will be less exerting.

Variations

  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
  • Eka Pada Chakrasana (One-Legged Wheel Pose)
  • Eka Hasta Urdhva Dhanurasana (One-Hand Wheel Pose)

Preparatory Pose

  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
  • Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
  • Camatkarasana (Flip Dog or Wild Thing Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • Don’t try to do too much too soon. If you’re new to Chakrasana / Urdhva Dhanurasana, be sure to consult with an experienced yoga teacher before attempting it.
  • Before attempting this pose, make sure you have warmed up adequately – try a few rounds of Sun Salutations to get your body moving! Chakrasana is an advanced posture that requires strength and flexibility in both arms as well as legs. It’s not recommended for beginners, but you can use props such as blocks or blankets under your hands if needed until you build up enough strength to hold Chakrasana without them.
  • Keep Your Legs Engaged Throughout. Engage the inner thighs and hamstrings throughout Chakrasana by lifting up through the kneecaps. This will prevent hyperextension (over-bending) of the knees when performing this pose. Make sure not to lock any joints either! The goal here is balance so keep those muscles activated from head to toe; this will help improve stability during Chakrasana inversions like Urdh Dhanurasasana.

How to do Wheel Pose

The following sequence will guide you through the steps necessary to perform Chakrasana safely and correctly. Remember to always listen to your body, and never push yourself beyond what feels comfortable. If at any time you feel pain, stop practicing and consult with a doctor.

Step One: Start by lying flat on your back on the mat with the legs together and arms by your sides.

Step Two: Press into your palms, which are facing down towards the floor. The hands should be directly under your shoulders as you lift up onto all fours (quadruped). Keep both knees bent so that they form 90-degree angles between thighs/shins at this stage of Chakrasana – do not straighten them yet!

Step Three: Bring one knee forward over opposite shin while simultaneously bringing other leg back behind in line with hips; try to keep the weight evenly across both feet throughout Chakrasana pose sequence or else it will be difficult maintaining balance during Urdhva Dhanurasasana steps ahead. Also, note how foot placement changes when switching from quadruped to Chakrasana pose.

Step Four: Gently tuck your chin in towards your chest and try to bring the crown of your head towards the floor, lengthening through the back of your neck. Keep both elbows parallel with each other and shoulders pulled down away from ears (avoid scrunching up shoulders). This is a key part for beginners as it will help maintain stability throughout Chakrasana/Urdhva Dhanurasana. If this step feels challenging or uncomfortable, you can place a folded blanket underneath your forehead until you build up enough strength and flexibility to hold it without props.

Step Five: To advance into Urdhva Dhanurasana, press firmly into palms and feet as you begin to straighten your arms.

Step Six: Gradually and Slowly come back by lowering your body down.

Mental Benefits of Wheel Pose

  • Teaches us to face our fears.
  • Builds confidence.
  • Helps relieve stress by releasing tension.

Bottom Line

Chakrasana / Urdhva Dhanurasana can be a challenging pose but with practice, you’ll get there. Just remember to listen to your body and never push yourself beyond what feels comfortable. Beginner or advanced! Chakrasana is a challenging and rewarding yoga position that builds strength in the arms, legs, and core. Chakrasanas are perfect for building strength throughout the entire body which makes them great poses for any Yogi.

Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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