Yoga Pose of the Month Table of Contents
Yoga Pose of the Month is a series consisting of 2 parts.
- Yoga Pose Of The Month: Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
- Yoga Pose Of The Month: Tree (Vrksasana)
The quiet and introspective moments of winter become enlivened during December festivities. This month can be a time when you work to find openness, balance and strength in every aspect of your life—every corner of your being, which touches the earth and reaches upwards toward the sky.
Wheel Pose, also known as Upward Bow, is a very powerful backbend and heart-opening posture, which can help ignite energy in your body during this busy time of year. The posture can be an offering to yourself and others, opening your heart to an abundance of love and compassion during the holiday season.
Try to build-up your strength and stamina in this pose so you can work on it often this month. You should notice that you gain strength in your arms, legs and core, as well as flexibility in your spine and shoulders. This is an intensive, full-body pose, so make sure you work your way up gradually from Bridge Pose so you don’t force the posture and strain your body.
Refrain from practicing Wheel Pose if you have a back injury, wrist problems or blood pressure and heart issues.
Wheel Pose offers the following benefits:
- Stretches the lungs and chest; heart and shoulder-opening
- Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen and spine
- Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary
- Increases energy and counteracts depression
Work The Pose
Lie on the floor, bending your knees with your soles of your feet resting on your mat. Try to get your heels close to the base of your spine. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your head, with your fingers pointing toward your shoulders and your forearms almost perpendicular to the floor.
Press your inner feet into the floor, and exhale as you push your tailbone up. Firm your buttock muscles as you lift them off the floor, but don’t squeeze them too tightly. Make sure to keep your thighs and inner feet parallel.
Take two or three breaths in this prep posture, then press the inner hands into the floor and lift up onto the crown of your head, keeping your arms parallel. Take two or three breaths here.
Move into the upward bow shape by pressing your feet and hands into the floor. With an exhale, lift your head off the floor and straighten your arms, wrapping your shoulder blades against your back. Turn the upper thighs slightly inward and firm the outer thighs as you lengthen the tailbone toward your knees and lifting the pubis toward the navel.
Let your head hang and your neck relax. Stay in the pose for five to 10 breaths, and repeat the posture two or three times.
“To keep the feet from turning out, place a block between them, with the bases of the big toes pressing the ends of the block. As you go up, press the feet into the block,” according to Yoga Journal. This will help you prevent tension in the lower back.
You can also support your hands or feet with two blocks against a wall to help you reach the full backbend.
Open up this season, and let this posture flood life and joy into every space of your spirit.