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Chakrasana Wheel Pose


Chakrasana, the Wheel Pose, is one of the advanced level back-bending Yogasana. It is also known as Urdhva Dhanurasana. It involves arching the spine while balancing on the hands and feet. The arms and legs play crucial roles in supporting and stabilizing the body throughout the pose. This pose helps open the chest, stretch the front of the body, and build strength and flexibility.

We could not find any documentation for this pose in classical yoga text. However, it belongs to the group of Dhanurasana that has been well documented in yoga texts. Moreover, yoga texts did not document every yoga posture that has been in practice. Hence, we could not conclude that this posture is a modern yoga posture. Traditionally it might have been in practice since ancient times.

Chakrasana Information

Pose NameChakrasana or
Urdhva Dhanurasana
International Alphabet of Sanskrit TranscriptionChakrāsana
English NameWheel Pose
Upward Bow Pose
TypeArm Balancing and Leg Balancing
Upward Bow Pose Information

Chakrasana Meaning

In the vast realm of yoga, certain poses often bear multiple names, each shedding a unique light on their essence and attributes. Such is the case with Chakrasana and Urdhva Dhanurasana, which, despite their distinct linguistic origins, denote the same empowering posture.

Chakrasana, derived from the Sanskrit words Chakra and Asana, translates to the Wheel Pose. It symbolizes the dynamic flow of energy within the body, akin to a wheel in motion, embodying fluidity and vitality.

Urdhva Dhanurasana, on the other hand, arises from the synthesis of Urdhva, Dhanur, and Asana, meaning the Upward Bow Pose. It signifies upward expansion and strength, reminiscent of an archer drawing a bow upward to its fullest potential.

Though these names diverge in linguistic roots, they converge upon the same physical manifestation: a powerful backbend that opens the heart, stretches the spine and invigorates the entire being. Whether referred to as Chakrasana or Urdhva Dhanurasana, the essence remains unchanged—a pose that embodies strength, flexibility, and the transformative journey of yoga

Urdhva Dhanurasana Procedure

Chakrasana Precautions

It’s essential to approach the practice of this posture with caution, considering various factors to ensure safety and well-being:

  1. Pregnancy and Menstruation: This pose is not recommended during pregnancy or menstruation due to the intense physical demands it places on the body. It’s advisable to avoid it during these times to prevent any potential complications.
  2. Surface Choice: Practicing this posture on a blanket is not advised, as it increases the risk of slipping. Opting for a stable surface like a carpet provides better traction and reduces the chance of accidents.
  3. Beginner Precautions: For beginners, practicing this pose near a wall can offer added support and stability, mitigating the risk of falls and helping to build confidence gradually.
  4. Health Conditions: Individuals with certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart issues, hernia, arm injuries, osteoporosis, or any other medical concerns should consult a healthcare provider before attempting this pose. Their guidance ensures that the practice is safe and appropriate for their specific needs.
  5. Guidance from a Teacher: Given the advanced nature of this pose, it’s crucial to practice under the supervision of a qualified yoga teacher, especially for beginners. Their expertise ensures proper alignment, technique, and adjustments tailored to individual abilities, reducing the risk of injury and maximizing the benefits of the posture.

By adhering to these guidelines and seeking appropriate support, practitioners can approach this advanced-level pose mindfully, promoting safety, progression, and holistic well-being in their yoga practice.

Urdhva Dhanurasana Preparatory Poses

Before attempting this advanced back-bending practice, one should master the basic level back-bending yoga exercises, some of which are listed below.

Chakrasana Steps

Step 1

Lie on your back. Bend the knees and draw the feet towards the buttocks. Between the knees and feet, ensure a gap of one foot. Place the palms on the floor adjacent to the ears, fingers facing towards the legs.

Step 2

Bending the head backward and slowly raising and arching the back. Ensure the weight of the body is now on the forehead, palms, buttocks, and feet.

Step 3

Now, raise the buttocks and straighten the legs. simultaneously raise the head and straighten the arms. Legs, arms, and back should make a half-circle. For this, the legs and arms should be straightened and the back should be perfectly arched. The Head should be in with the arms.

Step 4

Breath Normally. Keep the position as long as it is comfortable.


The initial duration may be for a minute or two. However, one may extend the duration by regular practice. The point is one should not forcefully extend the duration with discomfort. Instead, one may repeat the steps for two or three rounds taking a little rest in between.

Urdhva Dhanurasana Follow Up Poses

After practicing Chakrasana, one should follow up with any of the forwarding bending positions listed below.

Advance Pose Considerations

Advanced practitioners often initiate the execution of this posture from a standing position, showcasing their mastery and flexibility. However, for beginners, it’s crucial to begin from a lying position to establish a strong foundation and gradually build proficiency. Following the initial steps from lying down allows newcomers to understand the mechanics of the pose, focus on proper alignment, and cultivate awareness of their body’s responses.

Once practitioners have attained proficiency in the posture from a lying position, they can progress to the advanced stages. Here are the steps to follow for those who have mastered the foundational aspects of the pose:

Steps for the Advanced Practitioners

  1. From the Standing Position: Advanced practitioners can transition smoothly from standing to the execution of the pose, maintaining a steady breath and mindful awareness throughout the movement.
  2. Engage Core and Glutes: As the body begins to arch backward, engaging the core muscles and activating the glutes provides stability and support, ensuring a safe and controlled movement.
  3. Lift Hips Towards the Ceiling: Gradually lift the hips upward, allowing the spine to curve gently and naturally into the bow shape of the pose. This action requires strength, flexibility, and a deep connection to the breath.
  4. Extend Arms and Legs: With confidence and control, extend the arms and legs fully, pressing firmly into the hands and feet to lift the chest higher and deepen the backbend.
  5. Maintain Alignment and Stability: Throughout the pose, focus on maintaining proper alignment of the spine, shoulders, and hips, avoiding excessive strain or compression in any area. Drawing the shoulder blades together and lifting the chest helps open the heart center and promotes a sense of expansiveness.
  6. Breathe and Release Tension: Stay present in the pose, breathing deeply and evenly to encourage relaxation and release any tension or resistance held within the body. Cultivate a sense of surrender and openness, allowing the energy to flow freely through the entire being.

By following these advanced steps with mindfulness and respect for their capabilities, practitioners can deepen their practice, explore new levels of strength and flexibility, and experience the profound benefits of this transformative yoga posture.

Chakrasana Steps

Step 1

Stand erect. Ensure a distance of thirty centimeters between the feet.

Step 2

Raise the hands straight up keeping a foot distance in between. Bend the back and arms back towards the floor. It will be easy only for those who have mastery over the pose from the lying position.

Step 3

Place the palms on the floor fingers pointing to the legs. Keep the head in line with the arms and make a perfect arch of the back.

Step 4

Keep the position as long as it is comfortable. Initially, it may be hard to release the position back to the standing position. In that case, release the position to the lying position. By regular practice, it will be easy to come back to the standing position. However one should take due care, a slip may injure the spine.

Hip Width Distance In Chakrasana

In Wheel Pose, the width of your hips refers to the distance between your hip bones as you perform the posture. Generally, maintaining hip-width distance in this pose can help ensure proper alignment and stability throughout the pose.

Here’s how to find the correct hip-width distance in Wheel Pose:

  1. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
  2. Bring your hands beside your ears with fingers pointing towards your shoulders, elbows pointing up.
  3. Press into your hands and feet as you lift your hips off the floor, coming into the wheel shape.
  4. As you lift, aim to keep your knees in line with your hips, ensuring that they are not splaying outward or collapsing inward.
  5. Maintain the distance between your hip bones throughout the pose to support the stability of your lower back and pelvis.

Maintaining proper hip-width distance in Chakrasana can help distribute the weight evenly across your body and prevent strain or discomfort in your lower back or hips. Adjusting the width as needed to suit your body’s comfort and flexibility is also recommended.

Other advanced postures

After mastering this, one may go for the advanced positions listed below.

  • Legged Wheel Poses
  • Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana
  • Ekahasta Urdhva Dhanurasana
  • Ekapada Ekahasta Urdhva Dhanurasana
  • Poorna Chakrasana aka Chakra Bandhasana

Legged Wheel Poses

The Legged Wheel Pose typically refers to variations of the Wheel Pose where one or both legs are lifted off the ground, adding an extra challenge to the pose. In the traditional Wheel Pose, both feet are planted firmly on the ground while the practitioner arches their back and lifts their hips toward the sky, supported by their hands and arms pressing into the floor.

In legged wheel variations, practitioners may lift one leg at a time or both legs simultaneously while maintaining the backbend and balance of the pose. This modification increases the strength and balance required to hold the posture. Also, it provides additional stretching and strengthening benefits for the legs, hips, and lower back. Legged wheel poses are variations of advanced-level practice. They require a strong foundation in basic Wheel Pose and proper alignment to perform safely and effectively.

Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana

Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana
Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana

In Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana, the practitioner places only one leg on the floor. He lifts the other leg. When perfectly done, it will look like a bow with an arrow ready for the shoot. In addition to the benefits of Wheel Pose, this posture gives more flexibility and balance.

Eka means one and Pada means leg. Hence it gets the name Single-Leg Upward Bow Pose.

Ekahasta Urdhva Dhanurasana

In this version, the leg position is similar to the Wheel Pose, but only one palm is placed on the floor. This requires more arm-balancing skills. The benefits are pretty much the same as that of the Wheel Pose with the added benefit of more flexible and strengthened arms.

Eka means one and hasta means hand. Therefore it gets the name Single Hand Upward Bow Pose.

Ekahasta EkaPada Urdhva Dhanurasana

Ekapada Ekahasta Urdhva Chakrasana
EkaPada EkaHasta Urdhva Dhanurasana

Understandably, this is the Single Hand Single-Leg Upward Bow Pose. It also gets the name Chamatkarasana meaning Miracle Pose. This one is a more advanced one that requires the skills of hand-balancing as well as leg balancing.

In this posture, one leg and opposite palm are placed on the floor; whereas the other leg and palm are lifted.

Poorna Chakrasana

Poorna means complete. So it gets the name Complete Wheel Pose. The spine should be highly flexible to perform this. The other name for this pose is Chakrabandhanasana or Bound Wheel pose.

In the final position, palms should grasp the legs, and from the elbow to the wrist of the hands should be placed on the floor for balance. It is one of the most advanced versions of Wheel Pose.

To get mastery over the Complete Wheel Pose, one should advance the positions of the hands gradually toward the leg from the basic Wheel Pose. Gradual practice over the weeks makes the spine more flexible and master this advanced position.

Wheel Pose Vs Bridge Pose

Wheel Pose (Chakrasana) and Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) are two yoga postures that share similarities but also have distinct differences. Here’s how they relate:

  1. Backbend Postures: Both Wheel Pose and Bridge Pose are backbends that help open up the chest, shoulders, and hips while stretching the front of the body.
  2. Support: In Wheel Pose, the practitioner supports their body weight on their hands and feet while lifting the hips and chest off the ground, creating a deep arch in the spine. In Bridge Pose, the weight is supported primarily by the feet and shoulders, with the hips lifting off the ground but not as high as in Wheel Pose.
  3. Arm Position: In Wheel Pose, the hands are placed on the ground beside the ears with fingers pointing toward the shoulders, while in Bridge Pose, the arms typically rest beside the body with palms facing down.
  4. Intensity: Wheel Pose is more advanced and intense compared to Bridge Pose due to the deeper backbend and the need for greater strength and flexibility in the arms, shoulders, and spine.
  5. Variations: Both poses offer variations to accommodate different levels of flexibility and strength. For example, in Wheel Pose, practitioners may lift one leg or both legs off the ground (legged wheel), while in Bridge Pose, they may interlace the fingers under the back for additional support.

Overall, Wheel Pose and Bridge Pose are complementary backbend postures that can be practiced to improve spinal flexibility, strengthen the back muscles, and open up the front body. They can be incorporated into a yoga practice to provide balance and variation in backbend sequences.

Chakrasana Benefits

The benefits of Chakrasana include the following.

  • Wheel Pose tones the muscles and nerves of the stomach and hence it is good for digestion.
  • Muscles of the lungs get stretched, improving the respiratory system’s functions. It prevents disorders like Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD).
  • Generally, backward bending exercises improve conditions of High Blood Pressure. Hence, they are good for heart health.
  • Moreover, it tones the adrenal gland and improves its functions.
  • Also, the Wheel Pose is good for backache.
  • This posture is beneficial to the nerves and the Nervous System as a whole.
  • It helps in health conditions like menstruation disorders, and gynecological disorders.
  • Also, it helps open the chest and build strength and flexibility.

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