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Before you start backbending your heart out and doing other awesome yoga poses with the YogDev Yoga Wheel, begin by gently rolling out your back. Not only does this feel ah-mazing, it will help to warm up your spine for the backbends ahead.
Getting in: Sit upright with your knees bent and both feet planted hip width apart and parallel. Place the YogDev Yoga Wheel at the base of your spine. With your bum still on the floor, lean back and drape your body over the wheel. Bring your hands behind you close to the floor and use your thumbs on the inside of the wheel to stabilize when you lift your hips up. You can let your head rest on the wheel if that feels okay for your neck or you can support the back of your head with your hands.
Alignment: Your spine should be centered on the wheel. If you need to adjust your positioning, sit up slowly, adjust and recline once more. Keep your feet and knees parallel at all times.
In the pose: Push into your feet and slowly start to roll your back over the wheel so your head moves toward the floor. Engage your glutes slightly to help lift your hips and maintain control of your movements. Only go as far as feels comfortable. To roll back, slowly lower your hips toward the floor; your bum can stay off your mat. Playing around with short rolls back and forth and gradually work your way up to bigger rolls as your spine becomes more mobile.
Getting Out: Roll back down your spine and sit your bum on your yoga mat. Sit up slowly so your blood pressure can adjust. You did it! You are already on your way to being a YogDev Yoga Wheel master. Now check out the other poses in this series to take your backbends to the next level of wow!
Benefits: While not a traditional yoga pose, The Roll Out is a fantastic way to open up the spine and prepare it for all of those awesome yoga backbends. One of the biggest benefits of using the YogDev Yoga Wheel to roll our your back at the beginning of your practice is that it allows you to target difficult-to-stretch muscles that you might spend an entire session trying to get at. It is especially good at mobilising the often stiff thoracic spine, also known as your upper back. It helps to relax tight muscles down the whole length of your spine as well as open up your chest muscles and hip flexors. With the proper engagement of the glutes and inner thighs, you will have the added benefit of building up strength and stabilisation in your legs. This is one powerful little wheel!
Variation(s): For added fun, place another YogDev Yoga Wheel lengthwise between your thighs, away from your inner knees. As you roll out, gently squeeze the wheel to stabilize your knees and strengthen your inner thigh muscles.
Contraindications: Check with someone who knows what they are talking about prior to practicing any sort of backbend. Do not do The Roll Out if you have any preexisting spinal conditions or cannot have an elevated heart rate which sometimes happens as the result of backbending. If you are pregnant, check with your medical practitioner before attempting any pose on the YogDev Yoga Wheel.