Wake Up Your Wheel Pose

Wake Up Your Wheel Pose

heart opener


We don’t have to question it—we know whether or not we’re feeling open, free, and strong in Wheel Pose. There’s a lightness and expansiveness that takes over when everything falls into place: From the initial setup to the final expression, everything flows like a set of dominoes falling one after the other. When we don’t have a system of execution with knowledge, practice, and preparation behind it, our Wheel Pose can feel quite listless. So the question becomes, how can we wake it up and revive such a powerful posture? There are a few things to pack into the toolkit in order to find our greatest potential in Wheel Pose, but one of the simplest things Matt encourages us to be aware of is DIRECTION. This plays a key role in cultivating the experience we desire.

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If you’ve taken classes, workshops, or courses with Matt, then you’ll know that it’s of the utmost importance to take an intelligent approach to a posture, or in other words, to progress toward it; progression is part of the Chromatic way. When practicing the Chromatic system, we break things down into digestible pieces.

At the beginning of today’s video, Matt demonstrates a Wheel Pose drill up against the wall. This drill removes the weight of gravity, allowing us focus on techniques that create more depth in spinal extension. This focus helps us get sensationally in touch with areas of the spine that require careful attention in order to take care in creating further mobilization. We gain the first inkling of the importance of direction, that is, where we send the chest and feet.  You’ll see that once Matt walks away from the wall, he sends his chest forward and then up to the sky.




Standing upright in the first drill allows for a fair amount of “easy” exploration. As we begin to feel more confident, we can progress further. So next, we get down in order to get up.  

The next progression in the video is an exploration of Wheel in which we roll up a yoga mat against the wall. Here, we also get a sense of the placement of the forearms. Directing them in a wider, outward angle helps unlock the shoulders and again move the direction of Wheel Pose towards the wall. Matt explains that when the forearms are pulled closer together, it places the shoulders into a more locked position, pushing the direction of the pose into the feet. This is not where we want to be when attempting to maximize depth.

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Here, we swap out the yoga mat for a couple of yoga blocks placed diagonally against the wall. Something to consider here is that even if the feet are not placed far away from the wall, we want to create the sense of a directional pull of the knees away from the wall as we lift the chest up and towards the wall. There is an oppositional pull between the chest and the knees. What may result is less bend in the knees in the final stages of the posture because of the softening of the heart and the depth created in the spinal extension.  

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The sensations of the opposite ways we can feel in Wheel Pose are discussed above: We can feel listless and languid, or rather the desired opposite of the spectrum, namely vibrant, strong, and fully awake.

The only way to understand this is through exploration and practice. Through exploration, we can spend time slightly exaggerating where we “should not be” in the pose. Try it! Move deliberately in the opposite direction to investigate the outcomes.  

At the end of the video, Matt first pushes his Wheel Pose in the direction of the feet, but you can see that adjusting by walking the feet out and then pushing in the direction of the wall changes everything about the posture. Changing the alignment and moving in the “right” direction transforms our experience.

Check out Matt’s recent workshop, Freedom of the Heart, to dive deeper into these concepts and transform your backbending practice.

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Freedom of the Heart Workshop 

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