Chakrasana is generally termed as wheel pose. It is also known as Urdhva Dhanurasana or upward facing bow pose. Chakrasana is a back bending pose, and it is invariably part of the finishing asana sequences in the main series of Ashtanga Yoga. Chakra means wheel in Sanskrit and asana is a pose, seat or posture. Chakrasana is highly recommended for a flexible spine.
Procedure of Chakrasana
In the general form of Chakrasana, you should have your hands and feet on the ground while the abdomen arches upward to face the roof. The easiest method of getting into this asana is from a supine position. You can also reach this wheel position from a less difficult supine back bending postures like Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or bridge pose. As you become accustomed to Chakrasana from these poses, you can also drop back slowly from Tadasana or mountain pose. If you find it difficult to dropping back in the beginning, you can stand against the wall reach your arms overhead and move your hands down the wall towards the ground, while extending your legs forward to reach this position.
Variations in Chakrasana
Advanced practitioners of yoga asanas follow certain variations to Chakrasana, such as
- They lift one leg into the air straight up, balancing on one arm and two legs, which is known as Eka Pada Chakrasana or one-legged wheel pose or Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana or one-legged upward facing bow posture. After keeping one leg up in the air for 4 to 5 breaths, they bring down that leg and then do the same with the other leg.
- They raise one arm off the floor and place it on the thigh or knee, termed as Eka Hasta Chakrasana or one-handed wheel pose or Eka Hasta Urdhva Dhanurasana or one-handed upward facing bow pose. They hold the pose for 4-5 breaths, take the hand back to the original position and repeat it with the other hand.
- The advanced practitioners also combine Chakrasana with other backbends like Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana.
- They also come back to Tadasana by lifting the body slowly off the ground to come to a standing position.
Benefits of Chakrasana
The major benefit of Chakrasana is that the spine becomes highly flexible. A flexible spinal cord is a big protection against back pain, hip pains and many abdominal problems. This asana strengthens the back, the abdomen, the legs and the hands. Agility and flexibility of the body is the major achievement through this asana. However, this is one of the tougher asanas to practice and you should learn it with the help of a trained yoga master.