“Keep Calm and Strike the Wheel by Opening your Heart to the Heavens”

Urdhva Dhanurasana (sanskrit name) Wheel Pose

Classification:  

Symmetrical Back Bending Pose Arm Support Pose.



Benefits:

*  Expands your chest and shoulders.
*  Stretches your hip flexors and core musculature.
*  Stretches your wrist flexor muscles.
*  Strengthens the muscles that control your shoulder blades.
*  Strengthens your gluteus muscles of your hip and hamstrings at the back of your thighs.
*  Strengthens your low back musculature.
*  Relieves some forms of low back pain.
*  Therapeutic for asthma, opening the accessory muscles of breathing.
*  Traditionally thought to stimulate the thyroid and pituitary glands, counteract depression and aid in infertility.

Wheel Pose,  is sincerely my favorite pose in Yoga since many years ago. I could say it is a posture that made me feel a challenge and bliss at the same time.  

The key here with the skeletal joint actions is that Involves extension of the spine, basically in addition of the breath, the scapular upward rotation / elevation, shoulder flexion, elbow extention, forearm pronation, wrist dorsiflexion, hand and finger extension. 

Assessing the lower limbs (after mentioning the upper ones) we ground with ankle plantar flexion, knee flexion with hip extension and abduction play plays an important role to the safety practice of this asana.


In the event that our muscles comfort and support our skeletal range of movement, the muscular joint actions are deconstructed as following below:
Our spine’s concentric contraction lifting our head from the floor is at the rectus capitis posterior, obliquus capitis superior. Also in order to maximize extension of the spine, the extensors cannot be left behind without attention. 


The eccentric contraction of the psoas minor and abdominals is a safety tip in order to prevent hyperextension of the lumbar spine.


Concentric contraction is required in the upper limbs to upwardly rotate and elevate scapula, stabilize/protect shoulder joint, flex shoulder, extend the elbows, pronate forearms and to maintain integrity of the hand.


Also concentric contration provides safer extension of the hips by engaging hamstrings, gluteus maximus, moreover adductor magnus and gracilis to extend , adduct and internally rotate .
Knees extension as well requires concentric contraction in the articularis genu and vastii areas.

Breath is Life:

Like mentioned ujjay breath plays an important role. In order to prevent frustration when trying to take deeper breaths when already having the torso up in urdhva dhanurasana, keep in mind that if the body is stabilized in a maximal inhalation, there is little able to do to expand further by trying to inhale deeoer so quiet, calm and relaxed breathing will support better. The more efficient we concentrate our muscular action literally allowing it to strongly hug the skeletal joint action, the less oxygen will be needed to fuel the effort.

Getting to the Pose:

Setup:

1. Lay on your back with your feet flat on the ground, heels comfortably near your buttocks.
2. Hands by the head, palms down, fingers pointing foot-ward.
3. Inhale lift the hips and place the top of the head on the grounds and exhale.  
(Press your hands isometrically forward, thus moving the armpits and shoulders back)
4. Keeping that, inhale push your feet away from you isometrically to move your chest forward between your shoulders, and perhaps roll a little more onto the forehead.
5. Broaden your chest and keeping your shoulder blades together, open up your heart to the heavens and lift into the pose. 

 Transitioning out

Come out in reverse order

Emotional focus of this pose:

By learning to open your heart in your physical practice, it may gradually help you move stored emotions and you’ll gradually be able to forgive, let go of resentment, and release fear. 
You’ll also be able to let people in again. 
Ultimately, when you live with an open heart, you’ll experience more love and joy.
 You’ll be better able to listen to people, to accept them for who they are, and to respond to them from your deepest essence.
Back-bending poses open the heart area physically and energetically and set the foundation for having a more open heart in your daily life. 
They require steady effort and an ability to surrender to something bigger that is always there to support you.

Last but not least;

” Yoga is not a Command Performance, It is an invitation to explore”.-Danna Faulds


Namaste

Author:
Glenda Lee Santos; Humble Military and Yoga Warrior; RYT-200 hrs; Criminal Justice, BA; Holistic Practitioner with Foundation in Yoga and Ayurveda.

References:
Yoga Anatomy/ Leslie Karminoff , Amy Mathews (2nd ed.)2012.
Journey Into Power/ Baron Baptiste ( Fireside ed. )
Smithsonian Human, The Definitive Visual Guide/Robert Winston, Dr. Don E Wilson

Courtesy of Semperlee Yoga Corp.


Semperlee Yoga © 2016 All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s