Several months ago I noticed a very strange circular device that was showing up in the photos of many yoga practitioners that I follow on my Instagram account.
Occasionally, it was in the background and other times it was used as a support during backbends. I was curious.
Backbends are very challenging for me so I did some research and found out what this magical apparatus was.
Here are my findings. I’ve worked closely with a friend of mine, to share with you how it works and the myriad of benefits of this Dharma Yoga Wheel.
So, it turned out that this is the Dharma Yoga Wheel. And guess what, it’s everywhere. Even celebrities have used in their Instagram photos.
Even if you’re not on Instagram, you’ll notice these showing up in various workshops around the country. I’ve seen them in yoga classes, at festivals and more.
There’s even a Dharma Yoga Wheel training session for teachers in the works that use yoga wheels. I pondered how it could strengthen the backbend and if you use it in other poses.
What Is A Yoga Wheel? Who Invented the Yoga Wheel?
The Dharma Yoga Wheel (view on Amazon) was invented and designed by Sri Dharma Mittra and Sri Dharma’s son Yogi Varuna.
There are many similar products that have since emerged due to the popularity.
For example, UpCircleSeven (a competitor) has what’s considered one of the strongest and comfortable yoga wheels. Click here to read reviews of the UpCircleSeven Yoga wheel.
The Dharma Yoga Wheel is often considered the best yoga wheel for lower back pain, although has gone through a few different redesigns, there is a basic size wheel and a mini that is recommended for those who are under five feet tall.
There is also a plus size for those who are over six feet tall or those who wish to deeper explore the various stretches.
Per their website, the Dharma Yoga Wheel may be used in a variety of ways. It offers many great benefits. It can help with back and shoulder poses, as well as chest opening and in the quad or hip flex stretches.
It can help enhance balance and it can ease some of the challenges in backbends or make them more challenging. It also helps with arm balances.
Is The Dharma Yoga Wheel Worth It?
So the real question I had was, “Does it work?” Is it worth the price tag?
Here’s what I’ve been able to determine:
It really does help to watch the instructional video. It will teach you how to use the yoga wheel.
While it may appear to be just a plastic wheel that you are holding to make your backbends more accessible or deeper, it has many amazing benefits.
I wondered who on earth would need instructions. I mean, it was obvious how to use it. So I tried it and changed my mind, I realized the value of watching the instructional videos.
I thought that maybe I should watch them. So, I pulled up the Youtube channel and watched. I’m really glad that I did.
I learned a plethora of information regarding the wheel and much of the information that I learned I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else.
It depicted a variety of poses such as the bridge, the Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana which is a two-footed inverted pose. And an unusual pose called the Kapotasana (a full pigeon pose).
It showed me how to make many of the poses easier and how to get some back support when doing the various poses.
I’ve long struggled with this pose. Have I mentioned it as my arch nemesis? So when I saw this wheel, I had to find out more about it. Many use it when they’re doing the Kapotasana.
I waited for my wheel to arrive. I just knew I’d be able to do the pose properly with that wheel. Ha! So, when I first used it, it was harder than I had anticipated.
I was frustrated and at the ready to admit defeat to the pigeon. Thankfully, I came across the video tutorial.
How To Use Yoga Wheel For Back Pain
The tutorial offered me more than I had anticipated and a lot of handy tips such as holding it beneath the opposite elbow so that you can catch hold of it. Oh wow, what a concept.
Using it that way was far easier and made it much better. I suddenly had the required support to do the actual pose in the correct manner.
For the first time ever, I could do my own personalized version of the pigeon. It was amazingly more comfortable than I had thought it would be.
The yoga wheel an ideal tool for practicing my forearm stands. While the extra stability doesn’t seem as helpful as I thought it might be, it really is helpful.
The Dharma Yoga Wheel is very helpful for balancing yourself. It allows you to use the wheel as a counterbalance so that you gently fall back and rely on it for support.
Holding your balance isn’t always easy but this made it far easier and I’m so glad I learned how to properly use it to my advantage.
We also found that it helps with backbends, the forearm stands, and the scorpion pose as well as the hollow back. The wheel is very useful in all of these poses.
One of my neighbors was able to quite comfortably bring her feet to her head for the first time ever in the scorpion pose. It’s amazing the way that this support makes it easier.
I was able to enjoy a deeper backbend as I could pull the wheel and press my feet firmly as a counterbalance. It allowed me to pull my chest through and remain stable.
One pro tip is to ensure that you’re holding the side of the wheel closest to you when you do your forearm stands. If you’re on the far side, you’re going to overshoot the edge and wind up in a backbend that you may not be ready for yet.
I’m speaking from experience so keep this in mind. It was rather challenging but I definitely stretched myself beyond what I thought I was capable of doing.
The Dharma Yoga Wheel is a handy tool. While it’s not a substitute for a trained yoga teacher, it will help with the various poses that you need more support for until you become more flexible.
Always ask a teacher how to properly use it and how to properly hold the pose. A good teacher should easily be able to walk you through the process and help you to feel more confident in your yoga poses especially with the wheel.
What Makes a Yoga Wheel Shine?
It makes challenging poses far easier. When we first received our Dharma Yoga Wheel, we all thought that it would be far less intensive and far more restorative.
However, we quickly found that it was far easier than we thought. Asking around we found that others thought that it wasn’t as easy to use as we had thought.
If you were hoping to add it to your toolbox, you might want to consider a yoga bolster.
However, it’s for far more poses than the backbend. It helped with the upward bow pose. It was ideal to help prepare students for the various poses.
It could ease a student through the more challenging poses and give them the support that they required without the heftier price of the three blocks that often were used to aid in support.
As a tool, it worked wonders to ease the backbends, with the rolling and supported shapes. It also offered support as you eased into various poses.
It can trick you into core work. We’ve clearly established that it works as a support tool for backbends, however, it can also help with other poses.
It’s amazing how much easier it is to stretch when you have the proper support. Those core muscles will get a great workout and you’ll feel healthier and stronger than ever.
Your muscles will tone up quickly and you’ll feel the gentle stretch without doing damage to your muscles.
On my Instagram search I used #DharmaYogaWheel and found many great examples of asanas, sometimes, it just seemed to be everywhere in the poses.
It made it easier to enhance the pose and add support. It also snuck in some great stabilization to the core workout.
By incorporating the wheel into our workouts we were using more of our core and improving our core. Many poses are far more challenging than we thought and with the support of the wheel, we were able to manage the poses.
It’s ideal for learning to pose the handstand and many other challenging poses.
We worked and experimented with the wheel and found that we were able to incorporate it into many of our favorite poses and some of our not so favorite poses. It was all in all, quite helpful.
As with many of the handstand poses, there is a transition. I’ve found that if my neighbor hugged the wheel with one of her legs, right in between her thigh and her calf, she could press up on it far easier.
She also explained that when he squeezed the wheel and drew it toward her chest she could engage her core and her legs far easier. This gave her the power and support to move her hips over her shoulders and avoid hopping.
Should I Buy A Yoga Wheel?
The verdict? We’ll be it worth it? As stated above, there are many deceptions. It appears that it’s easy to use however, it can be challenging at the same time.
There are many reasons to use it and to appreciate its support. Many teachers find that it’s especially useful in teaching students to grasp it for support.
Many private clients love how easy it is to use. However, it’s costly for a large class to have enough wheels to go around. Perhaps one to share yet that makes the class have to wait longer for their turns.
Unless you have a few hundred to spare so that you can buy plenty for everyone to use you’re going to want to have smaller classes when using this wheel.
Yet, it’s still a valuable tool and can really help to ease students through many of the more challenging poses.