Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)

Wheel Pose, or Urdhva Dhanurasana in Sanskrit, is a stimulating backbending posture that can boost your mood, elevate your energy, and strengthen your entire body. This pose is an extension of Bridge Pose and requires more shoulder strength and flexibility in order to hold the weight of the body up. It can create feelings of well-being by opening the heart upward.

The posture is also sometimes called “Upward Bow Pose”, as it is very similar to Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), only upside-down! The actual Sanskrit translation is this as well.

It is essential to make sure your spine, shoulders, and hips are thoroughly warmed up before attempting this posture.

How to Do Wheel Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor in line with your hips. Place your hands by your ears, fingertips pointing toward shoulders, palms down, and elbows bent.

Step 2

On an exhale, tuck the tailbone and lift the hips off the floor.

Step 3

On the next inhalation, press through the arms to come onto the crown of the head. Draw the elbows in toward the midline for support. Stay here as long as you need to before proceeding.

Step 4

On your next exhalation, lift the head off the mat, fully extending the arms. Press down through the feet and heels, keeping them parallel to one another. Stay for 5 breaths.

Step 5

To come out of the posture, tuck the chin into the chest and roll down one vertebra at a time until the hips reach the mat.

Wheel Pose Benefits

  • Energizing
  • Stretches the hip flexors, abdomen, chest, and shoulders
  • Stimulates the thyroid gland
  • Helps fight depression
  • Strengthens the legs and arms