Yoga falls into that rare exercise category of “no equipment needed.” Other than a mat, all that’s needed is you, yourself, and your open heart. Maybe it’s our complex day to day lives that push us towards making everything more complicated than it needs to be, but sometimes yoga just seems…too simple. Surely I need more gadgets, gizmos a plenty, and at bare minimum some whozits and whatzits galore. (AND YES. I so just referenced The Little Mermaid, thank you fellow nerds and red haired children alike for knowing that.) Back to the point at hand: yoga. I find myself looking for ways to “add on” to my yoga practice. Aren’t there props that I need? Shouldn’t I be investing in more training apps that I may or may not use? I really will do a handstand better if I buy super expensive pants…right?
Part of me still feels disbelief at how simple yoga is, and yet how transfiguring it’s proven to be for millions of people, including myself. Now, when I see the random belles and whistles that promise to improve my yoga practice, I find myself looking at them as more of a nuisance than anything else, although I’m always open to anything that might help my practice. However, some yoga props really do enhance our practice, and one such yoga tool has popped up in the community and seems here to stay: the Dharma Yoga Wheel.
WHAT IT IS: the Dharma Yoga Wheel is a wheel that the yoga practitioner can use for increasing back flexibility and strength. In addition to providing an amazing spinal massage, it helps open up the chest and shoulders as well. Using the wheel can greatly improve poses like wheel, camel, kapotasana, hollow back and even inversions like the forearm balance.
The most basic way to use the wheel is to lie down on it with the wheel resting alone the spine. The back begins to loosen and open as your lay there, and you can adjust your pose according to what feels good. People who use the wheel swear it drastically improves their back flexibility and overall back health. I agree. It really does help quite a bit.
- CRAFTSMANSHIP: the wheels are made by hand, and when you purchase a wheel, you’re not supporting a giant corporate franchise. You’re supporting a yogi who has a passion for yoga.
- SIZES: include a half wheel, mini, basic, and plus wheels (no specific measurements were found on the site, as the wheels are according to the practitioner’s height.)
- MATERIAL: includes a sleek wood and a wheel with a bit of a rubbery grip
- USEFULNESS: like a yoga block, these wheel help you adjust in poses, only they’re designed for back bends of all sorts. Because you have this prop, you can get into your back bend deeper, and probably more safely.
- TIME: here’s a caveat, each wheel is made upon order, so it takes up to a month or more to arrive. I’m of the microwave-give-it-to-me-now-please generation, so this sounds HORRIBLE to me.
- PRICES: the wheels range from $100-150 for a single wheel, which is a little steep for a prop.
- FLOW: unless you’re revolving your practice around the wheel, I don’t think it’s easy to keep seamless flow going when I have to reach for my wheel. However, it’s only slightly more disruption and effort than using a yoga block, so I don’t think it’s too terrible. In my Ashtanga practice, I really like to go sans props so I can keep my focus on the asanas, not getting into a pose.
HOW TO USE:Watch It: Dharma Yoga Wheel Sequence
CONCLUSION: If you are obsessed with nailing your back bends or just love, love, love buying yoga gear and don’t mind spending money, I say go for it. Buy yourself Dharma Yoga Wheel and get super flexy. Do you need it? No, absolutely not. That’s the beauty of yoga. You can do a million exercises (ok, give or take) to get a flexible back. I’m pretty sure Kino MacGregor never used a Dharma Yoga Wheel…but her back is basically boneless and ridiculously bendy. Using the wheel can definitely help your cause along though, so it’s a good investment. So how about it: have you ever used the Dharma Yoga Wheel? Any interest in trying or good sequences you like? Let me know! Have a wonderful day!