The pose is also called the Urdhva Dhanurasana and is a backbend. This pose is quite often the culminating pose in a backbend series as many find it challenging. Chakrasana could cause undesirable pain in the lower back and shoulder, especially if the core strength is inferior. Hence, it is essential to follow a proper sequence before getting into the posture. One should also practice the counter poses to ward off any troubles.
Urdhva Dhanurasana Meaning
Urdhva Dhanurasana is a Sanskrit word that is made up of three separate words. Urdhva means Upward, Dhanura stands for bow and Asana means pose. When the practitioner holds the final postures, the body resembles an upward facing bow. Hence the name.
This pose is exactly similar to a wheel also. Chakra, in Sanskrit, means wheel. And, that is why it is known as Chakrasana too.
Urdhva Dhanurasana Benefits
The Wheel Pose bestows the practitioner with the following benefits:
- Stronger abdominal and back muscles
- Tones the digestive, reproductive, and excretory organs
- Stronger shoulders, arms, and wrists
- Supple and stronger spine and back
- Stronger legs and knees
- Better lung capacity
- Expanded chest
- Stimulates thyroid gland
- Detoxifies pancreas, kidneys, and liver
How To Do Chakrasana For Beginners
Here’s a step-by-step guide to practicing the Upward Facing Bow Pose.
- Lie down on the back, arms resting on either side. Bend the knees and separate them as wide as the hips.
- Rest the heels as close to the buttocks as possible.
- Place the palms on the floor close to the shoulders, fingertips pointing towards the body.
- Engage the core muscles and quadriceps.
- On an inhale, press the palms and feet into the floor and lift the body as high as possible.
- Drop the head back gently, bringing the gaze to the floor. Beginners can practice till this stage by keeping the knees bent. Hold for five breaths and gently release.
- Take a short exhalation and on the next inhale, straighten the arms and legs and lift the torso higher. Bring the head closer to the floor.
- In the final posture, the entire body should resemble a wheel.
- Hold the pose for five to seven deep breaths, engaging the gluteus.
- Stretch out the legs and relax.
Chakrasana Preparatory Poses
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Chakrasana Follow Up Poses
As mentioned above, this posture is a peak pose. Hence, the follow-up pose is commonly Savasana. However, one could practice the following Asanas also:
- Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Supta Padangusthasana
- Jathara Parivartanasana
- Viparita Karani
The contraindications for this posture include
- Back injury
- Low blood pressure
- Chronic and acute digestive disturbances
- Wrist injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
- Heart issues
- Diastasis Recti
How To Do Chakrasana Easily
There are no shortcuts to practicing the Wheel Pose. Beginners do find the complete pose challenging. And in such cases, they can practice Ardha Chakrasna, the Half Wheel. This version is also ideal for those who have back and knee discomforts.
How to do Ardha Chakrasana
- Stand straight, arms on respective thighs. Separate the feet as wide as the hips.
- Inhale and lift the arms over the head.
- Exhaling, bend the torso backward, gently walking the hands back. Keep a micro bend in the knees by unlocking the knees. Engage the core and gluteus muscles.
- Hold the posture for five to seven breaths.
- Inhale and gently walk the palms back. Support the lower back and gently come back to standing position.
- Exhale and practice Ardha Uttanasana as the counter pose.
Ardha Chakrasana Benefits
Half wheel offers the following benefits
- Stronger, toned abdomen
- Good for toning belly fat
- Beneficial for digestive and excretory systems
- Tones and strengthens reproductive organs
- Corrects back pain due to postural issues
Tips To Do Chakrasana
The knees and feet tend to fall inward while trying to hold the pose that could impact the lumbar spine negatively. Loop a strap around the thighs, just on top of the knees, to keep the knees in place.
You could also put a block between the feet for a similar effect.
Deepening Urdhva Dhanurasana
There are two ways to deepen this wheel pose.
- One of the simplest ways for deepening Chakrasana is to lift the heels away from the floor while in the final posture. Balance on the balls of the feet and keep the knees straight.
- Advanced practitioners could experiment with Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana or One-Legged Wheel Pose. Once in the final posture, shift the entire body weight to the left foot. Inhale and bring the right knee to the chest. Exhale and on the next inhale, lift the right leg up, toes pointing to the ceiling. Engage the core muscles. Hold for about five breaths. Exhale and release. Repeat on the other side.
Using Props with Chakrasana
Blocks and straps are the simple props used in Chakrasana practice.
- One can loop a strap around the thighs, just above the knees, to stabilize the knee.
- Looping a belt around the arms could also help the practitioner to hold the posture longer.
- Beginners could practice against a wall.
- To deepen the impact of the Asana, place a block between the thighs and squeeze the block while holding the pose.
- Place two blocks under the palms to rest them if the palms are dangling in the air.
- Beginners can use a chair to practice Ardha Chakrasana. Place a chair behind the legs and bend backward to rest the palms on the chair.
Chakrasana is a wonderful deep backbend that has plenty of benefits. However, it is essential to be very careful while practicing the pose. Remember the contraindications and practice accordingly.