Easy Pigeon Yoga Wheel Pose

Although this backbend looks deep, with the support of the YogDev Yoga Wheel and your feet on the floor it is actually very accessible and beginner friendly. The wheel supports your entire spine, so there is no risk of collapsing into your lower back. This also means you can fully relax into this gentle but effective chest opener.

Getting in: Set yourself up just like you did for The Roll Out. With bent knees, plant your feet parallel and hip width apart on the floor. Place the YogDev Yoga Wheel at the base of your spine and slowly recline onto it. Using your thumbs on the inside of the wheel to stabilize, push evenly through both feet and gently engage your glutes to lift your hips up. Begin to roll yourself back until you find a comfortable position where your feet feel grounded and your head can relax backward. It is okay for the top of your head to touch the floor gently but avoid putting too much pressure on your head and neck.

Alignment: Similar to The Roll Out, you want your feet and knees to stay parallel and your spine to be centered on the wheel. Your knees should be above your ankles with the bend at about 90°. Slowly come out of the pose if you need to make any adjustments with your positioning before returning to where you left off. You want your spine to feel fully supported by the YogDev Yoga Wheel without feeling like you are slipping too far forward or too far backward.

In the pose: Find that sweet spot where you can let yourself go and just relax into this glorious backbend. As in any chest opener, you may find your heart rate increases slightly. This is normal but if it becomes too much bring yourself out of the pose just slightly and see if a less deep backbend feels better. Use your breath as an indication of whether or not you need to go deeper or back off. As long as you can keep your breathing even and full—your breath will naturally get a bit more shallow in a backbend—then you are doing just fine. Your arms can be wherever you are comfortable: beside you, out to the side, over your head. For a tricep stretch, bend your elbows, bring your forearms to the floor and grab both sides of the wheel with your palms facing inward.

Getting Out: Bring your arms close to your body or place your hands behind your head to support your neck and slowly roll back down your YogDev Yoga Wheel until you are seated on the floor once more. Take your time sitting up. Give your spine a couple deep breaths to adjust to neutral and then do a gentle forward bend, such as Child’s Pose, as a counter pose.

Variation(s): Just like The Roll Out you can place another YogDev Yoga Wheel between your thighs to add some extra inner thigh strengthening to the pose. Aside from that, try out different arm positions and take note of where you feel the stretch in your chest. To avoid pinching in your shoulders, only bring your arms out beside you to 90°; to stretch your arms overhead start with your arms beside you and lift them up to point at the ceiling before releasing them back beside your head. If you do full Easy Pigeon pose, start with your arms beside you, bend your elbows, keep your elbows parallel and reach straight back to grab the edges of the YogDev Yoga Wheel with your palms facing in. Gently squeeze your triceps toward your ears and use a bit of pressure through your forearms to help draw your shoulder blades down your back.

Benefits: Easy Pigeon pose is the perfect prep for full Pigeon pose and with the added support of the YogDev Yoga Wheel you can start to work on releasing those often tight chest and upper back muscles that can get in the way of you going deeper into your backbends. There are quite a few traditional yoga backbends and even arm balancing poses that require your upper body to be strong and mobile. The YogDev Yoga Wheel provides you with a tool to help make a safe transition from beginner backbends to more advanced poses. On an energetic level, even holding a backbend for a short period of time will stimulate your nervous system by increasing blood flow around your spine. This in turn helps to relieve stress and wake the body up. What’s not to love?

Contraindications: Same as The Roll Out, check with someone who knows what they are talking about prior to practicing any sort of backbend. Avoid Easy Pigeon Pose if you have a preexisting spinal condition, shoulder injury and/or cannot have an elevated heart rate. If you are pregnant, check in with your medical practitioner before attempting any pose on the YogDev Yoga Wheel.