Chakrasana – The Yoga Wheel Pose

Chakrasana (The Yoga Wheel pose) is an asana, or yoga position, that consists of arching the spine backwards and placing one’s hands and feet on the ground such that the abdomen arches upwards.  Chakrasana is a backbend and in gymnastics is often referred to commonly as a back bridge.  It helps develop great flexibility, particularly in the spine.

Etymology and Origins

The name “Chakrasana” comes from two Sanskrit words.  Chakra means wheel, while asana literally translates to posture or seat, but is a term used generally to refer to poses taken in yoga.   Thus Chakrasana translates to wheel posture or wheel pose, which is meant to describe the form the asana should take in its final form.

There are a number of variations of the basic Chakrasana, including EkaPada Chakrasana, in which only one leg touches the ground, and Eka Hasta Chakrasana, in which only one arm touches the ground.  There is also the less strenuous Ardha Chakrasana, or half wheel pose.

Ways to Enter

Chakrasana can be achieved in a variety of ways; one can begin lying on their back (in a supine position) or enter the position from a similar but less rigorous backbend, like the bridge pose.  More advanced ways to enter the position involve bending over backwards from a standing position or pose.

Benefits

There are a variety of benefits associated with the pose.  Chakrasana provides a stretching effect to the spine and back muscles, as well as to abdominal muscles.  It also helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles with less of a risk of injury than strength oriented exercises.  The pose is often recommended as a way for people with back problems or pain related to bad posture to mitigate the effects and improve the health of their back.  The pose also provides a less potent strengthening effect to the arms, shoulders, wrists and legs.

The pose also can help to promote organ health, particularly for organs in the abdomen.  The stretching effect of the pose helps to tone and strengthen the liver, pancreas and kidneys.  It is also said to promote heart and lung health, and to help with breathing and respiratory disorders, like asthma.

Works Cited

“Chakrasana (Wheel Pose).” Yogic Way Of Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2016. <http://www.yogicwayoflife.com/chakrasana-the-wheel-pose/>.
“Chakrasana {Wheel Pose}-Steps And Benefits.” Sarvyoga. N.p., 17 Aug. 2015. Web. 07 July 2016. <http://www.sarvyoga.com/chakrasana-wheel-pose-steps-and-benefits/>.
Miller, Tim. “How Can I Learn Chakrasana? | Ashtanga Yoga.” Yoga Journal. N.p., 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 07 July 2016. <http://www.yogajournal.com/article/practice-section/learning-chakrasana/>.

(Photo Credit: Kennguru, CC BY 3.0 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25222909) , via Wikimedia Commons)

Shaun

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