YOGA ALIGNMENT: FULL WHEEL POSE

THE 3 MYTHS DEBUNKED

FULL WHEEL

YOGA ALIGNMENT: FULL WHEEL POSE

Yoga alignment for Full Wheel Pose is anything but simple, but achieving an easeful expression of the posture in your body is most definitely attainable. We just have to break through some of the alignment myths that many teachers have been taught is “correct”.

Let’s quickly discuss the name of this posture because it has many Wheel Pose is usually translated as “Chakrasana” because it opens ALL the energy centers. The posture is also known as Urdhva Dhanurasana which translates to Upward Facing Bowe Pose. Many back bends in the yoga posture are either named Bowe or after a type of Bowe. Moving Forward I will use any of these names when discussing my suggestions regarding the alignment for full wheel pose.

Debunking the 3 Myths

What you may have been taught is the correct Yoga Alignment for Full Wheel Pose

Hug your elbows in. Do not activate the glutes. Tuck your tailbone.

These are cues used often to move a student into wheel pose, but are they helpful? I don’t think so.

 Wheel pose, Chakrasana is a very active and advanced pose. It requires extreme flexibility AND strength of the hips, shoulders and wrists. Flexibility is required along the front body, and strength is required along the back body. Good news is, with a disciplined practice and a healthy dose of body awareness, this powerful heart-opening extension pose can be accessible to many.

We need to clear some things up so you can start practicing the best alignment for your full wheel pose. Meaning, you may have some things to UNLEARN before you can dive deeply into your practice. Yoga teachers, please take a breath, you are not a bad teacher if you have said any of the following to your students – we are all in the process of learning and developing our skills as practitioners and teachers. Instead, celebrate that you are here, curious and ready to learn.

200 hour online teacher training certification

200 Hour Online Teacher Training

“The 200 Hour Online Teacher Training certification with Matt Giordano is hands down the most detailed, comprehensive, in depth and effective trainings to learn how to teach yoga and deepen your yoga practice”

WATCH FULL WHEEL UNLOCKED

Myth #1: Tuck, hug or “squeeze” your elbows in.

Most of us are told to tuck our elbows in before rising into wheel. In this stage of the pose, this cue doesn’t really work.

I’ll show you why. Try this:

Follow along with the video at minute marker 7:50. 

From a seated position, bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle in front of your chest, wrists bent so that palms face up. Now you’re simulating  “tucking” or “squeezing” your elbows in. Move your elbows up and see how high your arms lift.

Now come back to position and widen your elbows. Press your arms up again.

Feel the difference? It’s pretty noticeable. Just like weightlifters would never tuck in their elbows to lift massive weight over their heads, you don’t want to limit your shoulder range of motion by keeping your elbows tucked. So elbows wide as you lift into your wheel.

WHAT IS THE CORRECT YOGA ALIGNMENT FOR FULL WHEEL?

Once IN the pose, you can certainly wrap your elbows in but this may not serve you if you find it challenging to straighten your arms. The reason why is hugging your elbows in is actually an action at the shoulders not at the elbow, this action is called external rotation of the arm upper arm bone. External rotation can be really great to help stabilize the shoulders, but remember that stability means less mobility. When you externally rotate the upper arms, your shoulder blades will follow the arms and will protract (move away from each other). Protraction makes creates stability, and less mobility. There is no correct alignment here, you have to assess what your needs are – do you need more mobility or stability? if you are struggling to straighten your arms, and your upper back feels stiff then DON’T wrap your elbows in, and DON’T protract your shoulder blades. IF on the other hand you are very mobile, and coming up to wheel is easy, and your upper back easily extends than of course you will want to balance out your mobility with stability – wrap your elbows in and broaden your shoulder blades. 

Myth #2: Relax your glutes as you lift.

I don’t care if you’re Gumby, or the Hulk you cannot lift your hips off the ground, against the weight of gravity, without activating your glutes. The muscles that lift your hips from the ground ARE THE GLUTES, Gluteus Maximus in particular.

Imagine yourself walking for a moment. Better yet, walk around. Note how every time your upper thigh goes back behind you and your toes prepare to push off, your back buttocks (and upper hamstrings) contracts. It’s activated. That’s what your glute muscles do when your hips are in extension.

Wheel is a powerful hip extending pose, so to lift yourself off the ground, you cannot relax your caboose. Once you are in full expression of your pose, there is no need to hyper squeeze your glutes or anus for that matter – this is an over activation of deeper muscles, and all it will do is leave you constipated (likely true).

the best yoga teacher training for alignment

300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

Master your skillset as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques. theming, yoga business and much more! 

THE BUTTOCK SOLUTION

Instead of hyper squeezing or clenching your deep buttock muscles try to press into the inner edges of your heels. This will engage the T.F.L which will internally rotate the thigh bones. Because T.F.L is an Internal Rotator of the thigh it balances out the Gluteus Maximus which is an External Rotator of the thigh.

BONUS: Activating T.F.L creates a facilitated stretch, which is an activation of a muscle while it is in a lengthened position. Facilitated stretching is a way of increasing flexibility without loosing muscle and joint integrity. Check out the Best Stretch for Your Hamstrings

Myth #3: Tuck your tailbone.

I imagine the intent behind this cue is to get the student to activate their buttocks and probably core muscles. But anytime you scoop your tailbone, you’re taking your lumbar spine into flexion (rounding). You might say “isn’t that safer”. In short, no its not. Trying to round your low back, while simultaneously trying to move into full wheel is a collision course waiting to happen. BE SURE TO WATCH AT 12:35 Seconds FOR CLARITY

    the best yoga teacher training for alignment

    FULL WHEEL WORKSHOP

    PAY WHAT YOU CAN!

    Full length workshop teaching you yoga alignment for full wheel pose. Develop the necessary flexibliy and strength through applied techniques. This workshop is available in pay what you can format or you can get Full Body Bliss, the 12 class immersion that includes  this workshop.

    Yes, it is true that an active core can help you stabilize your spine, but a lot of people concentrate on superficial muscles like rectus abdominus or obliques. Contracting these muscles while in wheel shortens your abdomen, which in turn shortens the front of your spine. Wheel pose itself shortens the back of your spine – the two together amounts to immobility at best, and pain or injury at worst.

    Instead, consider strengthening your transverse abdominus ahead of time. This is deep muscle that will strengthen a myriad of postures and stabilize your spine while leaving room for mobility. Build a strong DEEP core ahead of time, and your practice will flourish in ways you never imagined, especially in back bending and twisting postures.

    To learn more about the propper set up for wheel pose, check out Backbends and The Glutes with a short follow along video.

    TOP RELEVENT RECOMMENDATIONS

    1. Full Wheel Workshop (pay what you can)

    2. “Full Body Bliss” (includes Full Wheel Workshop + 11 more master classes)

    3. THE SPINAL RESET: 12 Class Immersion 

    MORE WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR PRACTICE

    1. Live Immersions: 3 Classes Per Week
    2. 200 hour training: Get Certified
    3. 300 Hour Online Training: Get 500hr Certified
    LIVESTREAM YOGA CLASSES FOR ALIGNMENT AND FLOW

    UPCOMING IMMERSION

    Each month you have the oportunituy to enroll in 3 weekly classe! You will get lifetime and unlimited access to each of the classes. Should you choose to enroll you will also have the oportunity to view all classes as they stream live 3 days a week. Each month has a physical focus to help you gain targeted techniques and advance your body awareness. 

    Be a part of the community, after enrolling you have the chance to connect with members through our exclusive facebook group where you can get tips directly from me, Matt Giordano. You are encouraged to share photos and videos of your practice for personalized  support. 

    I look forward to sharing this practice with you and helping you develop in a big way!

    ~Matt

     

    WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THE LIVE IMMERISONS

    Matt‘s classes are phenomenal- if you ever have the ability to practice with him, make use of it!! He has a very unique talent of combining anatomy, yoga philosophy and his own perspective into a super intense package of knowledge which is fun AND easy to understand. I enjoyed the April immersion a lot as it was a great way of deepening my own practice and broadening my horizon, especially as the lifetime access allows you to take classes
    as often as you want- trust me, you will want to take them again! I cant wait for next month’s classes and highly recommend everyone to take the May pass and joining in on the journey.

    ~Nadja Kyra King - @nadja_kyra

    Matt’s April pass was a journey. It was more than just the physical exploration of my practice but also helped me explore my spiritual practice. It was very nice to have a consistent practice during this time of uncertainty. If you are looking for a practice to ground yourself I would highly recommend exploring the Live Immersion of the Month.
    ~Amanda Barnes Salowsky

    Covid_19 bought Matt into my home and my yoga practice. This last month I have learn’t so much it has deepened my practice and my understanding of the anatomy & biomechanics and how we use both in every asana we practice. He has also helped in my teaching, ie asking my students to think about the foot as a tripod “big toe, pinkie toe, heel ” I never imagined I would learn so much from the immersion.

    ~Debbie, @the_joyofyoga

    THE DANCE: YOGA ALIGNMENT AND FLOW

    MOVE • BREATHE • RELEASE

    Yoga, Breath Work & Guided Meditation 

    1. 12 ALL LEVELS LIVESTREAM CLASSES
    2. WATCH ANYTIME WITH LIFETIME ACCESS
    3. DEVELOP YOUR YOGA PRACTICE, RELEASE TENSION IN THE BODY AND MIND

    $298.00 $98.00

    Continue Learning

    Chaturanga yoga pose alignment and anatomy

    Chaturanga yoga pose alignment and anatomy

    Chaturanga Yoga Pose Alignment and Anatomy The Mystery FINALLY Revealed and ClarifiedCHATURANGAWHAT IS CHATURANGA AND WHY IS IT SO CONFUSING?What is the best alignment for the yoga pose: Chaturanga? Well first let's start with what Chaturanga is. Chaturanga is both a...

    read more
    What is Yoga Alignment and is it important

    What is Yoga Alignment and is it important

    What is Yoga Alignment and is it important to keeping my body safe? will it advance my yoga practice? You may have heard that there is a right and wrong way to do a pose, so what I am about to share might shock you…

    read more
    5 Step Pigeon Pose Best Hip Stretch

    5 Step Pigeon Pose Best Hip Stretch

    5 STEPS TO MAKE PIGEON POSE THE BEST HIP STRETCH IS YOUR PIGEON LAZY? PIGEONDOES PIGEON POSE INCREASE FLEXIBILITYIs Pigeon pose the best hip stretch? The quick answer, it depends how you do it. Somebody told me recently on instagram that I was blessed with open hips....

    read more
    Neck And Shoulder Pain Relief 3 Step Release

    Neck And Shoulder Pain Relief 3 Step Release

    NECK & SHOULDER PAIN RELEIF THE 3 STEP RELEASENECK & SHOULDERSCAN SHOULDER TENSION CAUSE NECK PAIN?When someone comes to me complaining of neck and shoulder pain, they are usually rubbing their upper shoulder/neck area which are known as the trapezius muscle....

    read more
    WILD THING YOGA POSE 3 SHOULDER ACTIONS

    WILD THING YOGA POSE 3 SHOULDER ACTIONS

    Flip Dog Dilemma – 3 Shoulder Actions for Wild Thing. Is the popular yoga pose “FLIP DOG” worth it? If you practice or have been to a modern vinyasa or power yoga class than you know that flip dog is a popular posture that is called out somewhere toward…

    read more
    Samadhi

    Samadhi

    SAMADHI Dissolving into the state of oneness.SamadhiSamadhiSamadhi is the experience we have when the mind realizes the totality of itself - that it is one part of an infinitely grander whole. Using an analogy from one of my teachers, Alan Finger – Consiousness is...

    read more

    Newsletter

    When You Subscribe You Will Instantly Get Access To

    • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
    • Exclusive Online Course Discounts 
    • Exclusive Blogs and Videos
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    CONTACT

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    FREE EXCLUSIVEOFFER FOR YOU!

    Thank you! check your email for your free training and be sure to put matt@theyogimatt.com in your address book to avoid spam for your FREE videos!

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This!

    Hey. thank you for reading. If this is helpful please share it!

    Shares