Classic Yoga

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Chakrasana Wheel Pose

Introduction

Chakrasana is one of the advanced level back-bending Yogasana. It is also known as Urdhva Dhanurasana.

Medieval Yoga texts did not mention this pose. 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
Sanskritचक्रासन
ऊर्ध्वधनुरासन
IASTChakrāsana
Ūrdhvadhanurāsana
English NameWheel Pose
Upward Bow Pose
LevelAdvanced
GroupDhanurasana
TypeArm Balancing and Leg Balancing

Chakrasana Meaning

The term Chakrasana is the combination of two Sanskrit words: Chakra and Asana. Chakra means a wheel and Asana is a position. Hence the name Wheel Pose.

Likewise, Urdhva Dhanurasana is the combination of three Sanskrit words: Urdhva, Dhanur, and Asana. Urdhva means upward. Dhanur means a bow and Asana is a yoga position. We call Upward Bow Pose in English.

Urdhva Dhanurasana Procedure

Chakrasana Precautions

One should not take this posture for practice during pregnancy. Moreover, ladies in periods should also avoid this.

The practice of this posture on a blanket is not safe, as this may give chances for a slip. Hence one should prefer a carpet to a blanket.

The beginners may take this practice before a wall to prevent eventual falls.

Furthermore, persons having health conditions like Hypertension, Cardiac Issues, Hernia, arm injuries, and issues, osteoporosis should also avoid this posture.

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 ears, fingers facing towards the legs.

Step 2

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

Step 3

Now, raise the buttock and straighten the legs. simultaneously raise the head and straighten the arms. Legs, arms, and back should make a half-circle. For this, 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.

Duration

The initial duration maybe 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 the practice of Chakrasana, one should follow up with any of the forwarding bending positions listed below.

Advance Pose Considerations

Advanced yoga practitioners start performing this posture from the standing position. The beginners should always start from the lying position as described in the steps. Those who have mastered the pose from a lying position may follow the steps given below.

Step 1

Stand erect. Ensure a distance of thirty centimetres in between the feet.

Step 2

Raise the hands straight up keeping a feet 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 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.

Other advanced postures

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

  • Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana
  • Ekahasta Urdhva Dhanurasana
  • Ekapada Ekahasta Urdhva Dhanurasana
  • Poorna Chakrasana aka Chakra Bandhasana
Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana
Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana
Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana

In Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana, only one leg is placed on the floor. Another leg is lifted up. 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, leg position is similar to Wheel Pose, but only one palm is placed on the floor. This requires more arm balancing skills. The benefits are pretty the same as that of Wheel Pose with an 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
EkaPadaEkaHastaUrdhvaDhanurasana

Understandably, this is Single Hand Single-Leg Upward Bow Pose. It is also called 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. Alternatively, the pose is called Chakrabandhanasana or Bound Wheel pose.

In the final position, palms should grasp the legs and 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 Complete Wheel Pose, one should advance the positions of the hands gradually towards the leg from basic Wheel Pose. Gradual practice over the weeks makes the spine more flexible and master this advanced position.

Chakrasana Benefits

  • Wheel Pose tones the muscles nerves of the stomach and hence it is good for digestion.
  • Muscles of the lungs get stretched which improves the functions of the respiratory system.
  • Generally, backward bending exercises are good for heart health.
  • It tones the adrenal gland and improves the functions.
  • Wheel Pose is good for backache.
  • This posture is beneficial to the Nervous System as a whole.
  • It helps in health conditions like menstruation disorders, gynecological disorders.