Bow Yoga Wheel Pose

Bow Pose is a great, heart-opening backbend that is very energising; it is a full front body stretch that will wake you up and off load any stress you might be carrying around. The best part is, it can be made more accessible through the use of the YogDev Yoga Wheel.

Getting in: You may need a teacher to help you set up Bow Pose but once you are in it, the YogDev Yoga Wheel will make it a much easier backbend to explore. Start lying on your belly with your YogDev Yoga Wheel within reach. Bend you knees and draw your heels toward your bum with your knees hip width apart. Grab your YogDev Yoga Wheel and reach back with one hand until you can hook your toes into the wheel. Use the wheel to draw your feet in a bit closer and then reach up and back with your other hand to grab the upper inside of the wheel. Once you have it, bring the first hand to grab the other side. Or just ask your yoga teacher to hand you the wheel.

Alignment: Like traditional bow pose, keep your knees hip width apart. The tendency is to let the knees splay out which increases pressure in the low back which you do not want. Think of wrapping your triceps in toward your ears so your elbows are pointing forward. As always, relax your shoulders away from your neck by sliding your shoulder blades down your back.

In the pose: Finding length for your spine in Bow Pose with your YogDev Yoga Wheel is made simple because of the structure the wheel provides. Press the tops of your toenails back into the inside of the wheel while lifting the wheel up and drawing it forward with your arms. The challenge is to find the balance between length in the lower body and length in the upper body as they stretch in opposite directions.

Getting Out: Like a powerfully loaded bow, you want to ease out of this pose slowly to keep your body safe. Start by relaxing your arms and legs and then carefully slip one foot at a time out of the wheel. Alternately, ask your yoga teacher to assist you in exiting the pose. Put your wheel to the side and take a few deep breaths lying on your belly so your spine can settle back to neutral. You might even want to do a counter pose, like Child’s Pose, to balance out all the big heart opening you just did.

Variation(s): Once you are comfortable holding Bow Pose, play around with rocking back and forth while in the pose. This provides a bit more of a dynamic stretch for your front body and you get a nice belly massage as well. Initiate the movement from your core and hold the structure of your bow at all times. For even more of a challenge, try rocking side to side.

Benefits: Similar to the traditional Bow Pose, with your arms overhead in the YogDev Yoga Wheel Bow Pose you are getting some really deep heart opening. The best part is, you do not have to wait until you can grab your toes to experience the benefits of this backbend. And there a so many benefits! Your chest muscles are getting a good stretch as well as your upper back muscles, triceps, abdomen and quads. All of this opening will help you to breathe deeper and increases circulation which will give you more energy and mental clarity. Bow is called a BIG heart opener for a reason; with regular practice it can help to improve your posture and keep your heart feeling light.

Contraindications: As you are putting a lot of weight on your abdomen, this pose is not well suited for pregnant women. Spinal conditions should be cleared by a medical practitioner before practicing with the YogDev Yoga Wheel.