Currently, a new trend has taken over the fitness-related markets, with the yoga wheel being advertised as an all-encompassing tool that is not only useful to ease back pains, but to also assist in enhancing posture, improving the stretch routine by integrating more options, and facilitating the buildup of core strength.
The yoga wheel was first launched in the market in 2014 and was declared “the hottest workout prop” in the year 2018. It was featured as an accessory in the social media profiles of several popular influencers inclined towards yoga as well.
I can almost read your mind right now!
You must be wondering how a plastic ring that is extremely shaky has been deemed to be more useful than the tried-and-tested yoga straps, yoga blocks, and relaxing bolsters?
I was flabbergasted as well. So, in this article, we’ll delve into this fad that has caught up quite quickly, and answer a few pertinent questions about yoga wheels, including:
- What are the perks of using a yoga wheel?
- Is it safe to use one?
- How do I pick the right yoga wheel?
- Among the thousands of yoga wheels present in the market, which is the best?
- Does a yoga wheel live up to the hype, and is it worth investing in?
Let’s look at these questions right away.
However, if you are in a hurry and just wanted to find out about our top pick, we’ll address that first:
It is an eco-friendly quality product that is extremely resourceful to your body, without harming our planet. The wheel is created using wood that is sourced through sustainable methods. The wheel can sustain up to 250lbs and is hence a long-term investment.
What is a Yoga Wheel
Let’s first quickly look at what a yoga wheel primarily is.
As stated already, it is a tool that can be used in yoga and is shaped like a ring. It has been designed to help release tension and facilitate the stretching of muscle tissue.
The tool was first developed by Sri Dharma Mittra, whose son Dov Vargas enhanced it further to make it into an accessory that can be used in yoga and called it the Dharma yoga wheel. Recently, this trend picked up among several yoga enthusiasts as well as athletes and celebrities, and a lot of companies jumped at the opportunity to create more yoga props based on this design.
However, you may be wondering why there is so much hype surrounding this tool and what the differentiating factor is.
On the most superficial level, the yoga wheel can be given credit for being an extremely creative yoga prop.
When it comes to utility, it’s quite simple to gauge. A yoga wheel helps in shaping and toning the contours of the body and is useful especially when performing back-bending. It also makes the hard-to-reach areas lengthier. We are talking about points such as the neck, shoulders, chest, spine, hip flexors, etc.
If you think creatively, your yoga wheel can become your greatest fitness ally, facilitating forearm stands, developing your core, and to also challenge your meditation sessions.
Another perk is that, regardless of your expertise, the yoga wheel can help you with your workout in one way or the other.
It is better than a yoga strap (which you tend to let go of after some experience) as it is a great resource for novices who require more assistance with advances poses. Moreover, it is also extremely useful for experienced yogis, who can make their yoga poses challenging.
Six great perks to help you understand what a yoga wheel can do
With a yoga wheel, several alternative workout routines are possible as long as you are willing to experiment.
Yoga wheel can also be used for several fun purposes, such as massaging your back and helping you test your balance.
Massages Your Body, Particularly Pertaining to Back And Neck Pain
The most useful perk offered by a yoga wheel is that it helps relieve all the knots in your neck and your back by stretching your entire spine, all the way till your tailbone. As the yoga wheel is adequately wide, it falls right under your shoulder blade, which is an area that most of the massage-based props tend to neglect.
The best part is that it is especially useful today since the implications of the eight or nine hours of working by the desk are almost immediately reversed in about ten minutes, as the tight shoulders, back or neck pain relax instantly.
Your leg muscles can also enjoy a good massage using the yoga wheel, in a manner similar to the one experienced by a conventional foam roller. A yoga wheel helps relax tight muscles as it enhances blood flow to these areas.
Personally, I believe that the yoga wheel is better than foam rollers, in terms of longevity. Moreover, it provides the entire body with a good warm-up before the actual routine.
Do note that your body will not be healed of all the pains and tightness of muscles during the first use itself. Moreover, to relax and unravel the tight knots in your neck and spine, you must go through a short period of discomfort and even slight pain. In case your strongest suit is not flexible, it is a good idea to integrate a few more props before you immerse yourself into a backbend.
Even if you just position your back against the yoga wheel, your entire frontal body enjoys a good stretch, and space is created in your chest and abdominal muscles.
However, do leverage its circular design, which is an asset for those who want to experiment with their poses.
For instance, you can kneel by the yoga wheel and wrap the prop with your body, thereby opening up the side of your torso. Conversely, if you need additional support, you can position the wheel between your legs in the Seated Forward Bend or even behind your feel if you plan on stretching yourself further.
Provides Support and Helps Avoid Injury
A yoga wheel mimics the curvature of your body and enhances the mobility of your spine over time. Moreover, in cases where you want to engage in poses that are not very simple for beginners, this tool acts as a scaffold to help with reach.
A yoga wheel is extremely useful to warm up your body, regardless of whether you want to do splits or Full Pigeon pose.
Enhances Balance & Strengthens Core
If your regular yoga routine has become slightly mundane for you and you want to ramp it up with challenging elements, integrating balance work or eve burning your core is a good idea.
For example, you can attempt to position your feet on the yoga wheel while you assume the plank pose. Begin by bending your knees and place your legs by your chest, by rolling the yoga wheel forward. Subsequently, roll it back into the plank.
There are ample unique poses you can assume by using the yoga wheel. However, make sure that you do not hurt yourself when you lose stability. Begin with basic poses and then move to the more complex ones.
Assists in Enhancing Handstands & Forearm Balances
In inverted postures, pressing a yoga wheel against the back part of your head can provide support through counterbalance.
Those people who are experienced in yoga can use a yoga wheel while practicing hollow backs, handstands or the Scorpio Pose as well. When you have a resource to hold on to while also enjoying additional boost off of the floor, it can be extremely helpful.
Makes Meditation More Challenging
Using the yoga wheel while meditating can positively impact the experience.
All you have to do is, position your prop behind your shoulder blades as you align your back against the wall. In such a case, your focus will be divided between being mindful while ensuring that you remain seated straight.
How a Yoga Wheel Can Be Used by Beginners: 4 Simple Poses
You can literally try a hundred different poses using the yoga wheel.
If you are a novice, this article will walk you through four easy poses to help you start.
You can attain several benefits such as enhanced strength, balance, and flexibility by following these guidelines, which familiarize you with 33 amazing poses using the wheel for both novices and experts.
Seat yourself in an upright position with your legs bent at your knees. At the base of your spine, position the yoga wheel, and gradually place your back on the wheel and breathe out. Make sure that your arms are rested and your palms are placed on your sides.
This pose is great to open up your heart and will make sure that your body feels better after remaining seated the whole day. If you wish, you could alter the position of your feet and rest them in the Lotus Position or Reclining Butterfly, so the effects reach your hips.
If you want your arms and chest to experience a better stretch, extend your arms and allow them to rest on the floor behind you.
Performing the Child’s Pose while using a yoga wheel is a great way to augment the traditional method. Your chest and shoulders open up further while your hips and lower back stretch even more.
Assume a tabletop position as your knees and hands rest on the floor. Position your knees hip-width apart while your big toes remain in contact. The yoga wheel must be placed in between your knees. Breathe in. While you breathe out, bend forward at your hips, concurrently rolling the wheel till your stomach comes in contact with your thighs and your arms must be extended forward.
Modified Gate Pose
On your mat, kneel down while you make your way into the tabletop. Your hands must be placed right below your shoulders. Extend your right leg outwards and position it on the wheel. If you feel that you require more support or height, you can place your palms on two yoga blocks.
While your hips remain squared, roll a little to your side, all the while making sure that your other knee stays below your hip. Both your inner thigh and your legs will enjoy a good stretch.
Seated Forward Fold
Seated Forward Fold is an amazing yoga pose that not only lengthens your spine but also works on your hamstrings.
Once you sit on a mat, spread your legs wide open. Ensure that your feet remain flexed so as to activate your legs’ muscles as well as the front part of your thighs. Position the yoga wheel before you. When you breathe out, bend at your hips and move the yoga wheel ahead, concurrently moving your torso as well, till your hands are completely extended.
Is It Safe to Use a Yoga Wheel?
Typically, a yoga wheel is sent along with elaborate guidelines as well as example poses to help you begin your adventure.
Moreover, if you wish to learn about more poses or understand the details even better, Instagram is a great platform to turn to.
However, learn about the capabilities and incapability of your body, since body structures vary with each individual. Therefore, certain poses may not be easy to assume for you.
While it may seem like yoga is a very safe practice, it is important to understand that it is still physical activity and can lead to pretty terrible injuries.
In case the flexibility and strength of your quads and your back haven’t reached their optimum level, it is best to avoid poses such as Full Pigeon pose on a yoga wheel. Moreover, patients of osteoporosis or those who have suffered injuries previously must consult their doctors before they engage in backbends on the yoga wheel.
In cases of challenging balances and inversions, it is even more important to work with caution. Moreover, yoga wheels may also vary when it comes to stability. So don’t immediately get to mimicking challenging poses as you may sustain an injury.
This rule applies to headstands, forearm stands, and all inversions, in fact. Although yoga wheels are a great resource to work with upside-down poses, they must not replace a yoga instructor. It is a good idea to seek the assistance of a professional for poses you haven’t performed yet.
Do not compare yourself to yoga-based influencers on Instagram. Instead, learn the poses gradually without hurrying yourself, if you wish to remain safe in your new endeavor.
How Do I Pick a Yoga Wheel?
In all honestly, all the yoga wheels are made out of plastic and look similar to each other- small and ring-like.
Thus, it may be quite surprising that the prices range from $30 to over $100.
The reason for this vast variation is that although they look extremely simple, yoga wheels are quite complex in terms of their structure.
The ones in the market have different materials, sustainability, weight load, size, etc.
You must consider four specific aspects before you purchase a yoga wheel.
The majority of yoga wheels being sold right now can endure about 400-500 lbs. A few are extremely sturdy and can hold your entire weight, while the rest are better-suited for less-intensive poses.
Therefore, consider the weight limit of a yoga wheel carefully and also decide the purpose of it in your life.
If you merely want to stretch and release body muscle tension, you need not worry about a lot. However, if your planned exercises involve sitting on the wheel and balancing yourself, you must look at the wheel load limit to decipher if it can sustain your weight.
Conventionally, the yoga wheel comes in three sizes.
The standard wheel that comes with a diameter of 12” is quite optimal for most heights and body structures.
For those seeking a directed massage or those who are less than five feet tall can opt for mini yoga wheels.
Extremely tall practitioners as well as seasoned experts can go for the plus-sized yoga wheels.
It can be noted that for most people, the width of 5” for a yoga wheel works accurately, particularly if they wish to position it between the shoulder blades. However, there are many wheels available with a width greater than 6”, which provide better stability.
Typically, the frames for yoga wheels are created using PVC or ABS plastic. Very few companies use real wood.
In terms of rigidity and durability, both PVC and ABS are quite good. However, the latter acts as better shock resistant and is capable of enduring a greater weight limit. Both PVC and ABS are quite cheap as well. However, neither is eco-friendly. Most yoga wheels are encompassed with natural cork, which makes it easy for marketers to brand them as eco-friendly. However, the frames are made out of plastic.
When it comes to wooden frames, their weight load is comparatively lower. While they are eco-friendly, they are quite pricey, which also makes the rare.
A yoga wheel’s padding is extremely important to take into consideration.
When you are a novice, it would be quite uncomfortable to roll out your tight areas. In such a case, thicker padding offers some solace to the practitioners by mitigating their pain.
If hard services make you uneasy, it is a good idea to turn to the surface with the thickest padding available.
Obviously, when it comes to padding, it is quite subjective as to what is better.
Cork not only looks natural but is also easy to cling to in the presence of moisture while it is also anti-microbial. However, I’m assuming that most of you are not going to use a yoga wheel in a hot yoga class. So, we can eliminate the possibility of sweat from the equation.
Foam padding is also resistant to moisture and does not slip. To ensure a better grip, many manufacturers also include a leaf vein texture to the surface.
It is quite interesting to note that “circle” is not the only available shape for a yoga wheel. That is because the ring-like shape can be quite painful for a novice.
If you feel the same way, you can look for variants in the elliptical radian design. To begin with, this shape enables you to work with two surfaces- a rounded one for those looking to practice an extensive backbend and another curve that is useful for muscle release. Moreover, these wheels better align with your spine in comparison to the more rounded ones.
Thankfully, the difference in shape does not negatively affect the functionality of the wheel. So, while you enjoy stability, you can also attain balance, enhance your posture, and forearm stands.
Moreover, in the Iyengar yoga tradition, back-benders and stretchers are very commonly used. This wheel perfectly fits the curve of our spines when we assume such poses.
Therefore, if balance or core is not your main area of focus, you can turn to back-benders which offer the diverse benefits offered by popular yoga postures without rendering you unstable. Although therapeutic measures commonly employ back bridges to heal back pain and amend postures, it is not uncommon to practice them regularly.
Reviews of Popular Yoga Wheels
As online shopping has taken over the world, we need not worry about where to source our prop from. However, the problem is that there are thousands of wheels available in the market, making it impossible to choose. A double-edged sword, eh?
Lucky for you, I’ve spent many hours looking at the different yoga wheels available in the market currently. I have turned to buyers’ reviews and my own experiences with a few of the products to help you learn about the 12 best yoga wheels for your stretches and backbends.
Yoloha Premium Cork Yoga Wheel
Yoloha, a company by a small family based out of the US, will ensure that your experience with yoga-based products is top-notch.
The Premium Cork Yoga Wheel manufactured by Yoloha is devoid of toxics and latex as well as PVCs and other times of chemicals. Every Yoloha Premium Cork Yoga Wheel is made up of maple and poplar wood and created by skilled artisans hailing from the USA. An eco-friendly cork is used on top of the product.
The wheel not only looks better than cheaper wheels, but it also smells better.
To ensure that maximum safety is provided to the practitioners, Yoga Wheel’s by Yoloha is equipped with the anti-slip and anti-microbial surface. Moreover, they come in a variety of creative designs and are well-rounded even in the interior parts.
A weight of 250 lbs can be sustained by these extremely durable wheels.
If extensive use wears out your product, it will get replaced by the company with no extra charges. Within 30 days of purchase, you are eligible for a full refund or an exchange.
SURIN Black Yoga Wheel
A great investment, SURIN yoga wheel is cheap and performs its functions properly- ensures that the challenging poses can be attained while enhancing flexibility and spine mobility. Moreover, the free case that it is provided with is convenient if you wish to practice yoga outdoors.
The frame of the yoga wheel is created using rigid plastic. The wheel can sustain weights of up to 500 lbs, which means you can even sit or stand on it, without breaking it.
A latex-free anti-bacterial TPU foam is layered around the wheel to provide cushioning when you perform difficult stretches.
As it comes in sizes of 12” and 5″ width, practitioners of different heights can use wheels of this brand. While guidelines for a workout are not provided, you can make sense of the prop quite easily by watching a few tutorials online.
It is quite an affordable brand that you can avail of.
Stretching Yoga Wheel by Clever Yoga
If you wish to engage in exercises that enhance your strength and flexibility, Clever Yoga Stretching Yoga Wheel is a great option.
It is extremely safe to use and is quite wide in comparison to a standard yoga wheel, to enhance stability. Moreover, the padding for gripping is integrated on both sides, thereby preventing the slipping of the wheel in the presence of moisture.
ABS is used to manufacture the frame, making it quite sturdy and durable in comparison to wheels made out of PVC. Hence, it can endure up to 660 pounds.
Moreover, 2 sizes of medium and large are available for practitioners shorter than 5’5” and taller than 5’6” respectively.
The free exercise guide that comes with the yoga wheel is extremely useful to include the prop in your practice gradually.
Moreover, the back will not be broken by the Stretching Yoga Wheel. If you were to express concerns regarding the product, an exclusive “Namaste” Warranty enables customers to seek a refund or free replacement.
Purity Wave Cork Yoga Wheel
Purity Wave Cork Yoga Wheel is quite popular for its elegant design.
While the frame is made out of plastic, it has a wood-like design and is layered with a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and a cork padding. The cork acts as an anti-microbial agent, thereby preventing the growth of bad bacteria. Moreover, cleaning the surface is quite easy. All you have to do is, use a cloth soaked in a water-vinegar solution and wipe the wheel.
This yoga wheel is quite sturdy and can endure your weight even when you are standing or sitting on it, as long as you are less than 550 lbs.
If you want to enhance your strength, flexibility, and balance, the Purity Wave Cork Yoga Wheel is provided along with a guide.
Body Wheel Yoga Wheel
This yoga wheel by Body Wheel is one-of-a-kind. It does not have hollow insides, and instead, it is flattened and solid. It comes with side grooves to provide a better grip.
Moreover, the extent of your stretch can be regulated very easily as the yoga wheel can be grabbed at varied distances. A cutout present in the middle of the wheel helps in eliminating some amount of pressure on the spine while engaging in certain poses.
A high-quality EVA foam is used to manufacture the Body Wheel. Thereby, the surface provided for stretching is softer and more comfortable than that offered by wheels of the ring-type. The wheel can endure up to 220 lbs and is thus, sturdy enough to practice handstands and balance with your weight on it. When it is flipped to the side, it can act as a yoga block.
The wheel is available in 3 different sizes – 15″, 12″, and 9″, and is quite wide in comparison to standard yoga wheels.
For a few practitioners, the Body Wheel would be a little too wide to position between the shoulder blades and facilitate the deep tissue massage. Moreover, the wheel is more prone to collecting lint, thereby impacting its appearance. For others, the side cutouts do not offer adequate grip.
However, we can overlook the fact that the Body Wheel is comfortable, versatile, and durable. If hollow yoga wheels seem too flimsy for you, you may like the Body Wheel.
UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheel
When it comes to affordable inversion yoga props, UpCircleSeven is one of the market leaders. According to the founders, their yoga wheel is the “only wheel you ll ever need.”
Tit allows for comfortable stretching with its 8 mm padding and is very useful for massaging knots. It is quite sturdy and supportive when you perform challenging poses.
The closed-cell structure is how the padding is made, which prevents the accumulation of moisture. Therefore, you can go to hot yoga classes with the wheel, without worrying about it beginning to smell.
Either the cork or the TPE surface can be used. While the former looks better, the latter comes in many colors and can grip well with your mat.
ABS is used to manufacture the frame of the wheel, which can endure up to 550 lbs.
However, a few users have stated that even when they put loads weighing 300 lbs, the wheel flexed slightly, though nobody complained about breakage.
A free PDF guide containing 18 elementary poses is provided for free, to help you begin your journey in a safe manner. The company offers a free replacement or full refund if you don’t like the product.
Solofit Double Radian Yoga Wheel
Solofit Double Radian Yoga Wheel is clearly inspired by the original yoga wheel and its aim is to ensure that yoga can be practiced by everyone.
As it is elliptical, yogis have the option of working with two surfaces: a gentle curve for beginners and a rounded one for more complex backbends. If you are just starting off, this is a great option as it provides great stability than a standard yoga wheel.
An anti-slip surface is another advantage with this wheel as sweat is not trapped within the body, thereby preventing the growth of the bacteria. The wheel comes in 2 colors and will suit most body types and can endure up to 550 lbs without flexing.
As Solofit Double Radian Yoga Wheel has a flat structure, you can carry it while you are traveling as well, since it will fit quite well in a bag.
Solofit is not restricted to yogis but can be enjoyed by those suffering from back or neck pain or even scoliosis.
Acumobility The Ultimate Back Roller
If a standard yoga wheel does not challenge you anymore as you have familiarized yourself with deep tissue massage, Acumobility may have the right product for you. This product juxtaposes the perks of a foam roller with those of a yoga wheel and can be a life-changing experience.
The Acumobility roller comes with a patented bump pattern that helps massage extremely tough spots and muscles that cannot be accessed easily. In the middle, a spinal groove is included so as to decrease the pain.
Let me be honest here and tell you that the Acumobility back roller can be a harsh product and put you through pain the entire first week or more. You could use a yoga blanket or a towel to protect your spine, in such a case. A few people recommend using it against the wall so as to control the pressure that is applied.
Back Bridge by Gravity
Though this does not exactly come in the shape of a wheel, this back bridge shaped in an arch goes a long way in relaxing your shoulders and chest. Moreover, its structure will allow you to feel safe, unlike the wobbly rings.
Natural wood is used to manufacture this back bridge, which can withstand a weight of 220 lbs. It looks quite elegant and can pass off as a piece of furniture.
Back Bender by Gravity, however, cannot be used for a lot of things as opposed to the yoga wheel. For instance, you cannot stand on it or balance yourself. However, you can use it as a bolster or a block, as it can improve your height during tricky poses.
Pete’s Choice Dharma Yoga Wheel
Pete’s choice came up with a 13″ Ultimate Dharma Yoga Wheel, which is affordable for novices and experts.
It is made up of ABS material and is layered with a foam padding of ¼ inch. The wheel can endure up to 350lbs. However, the manufacture is against the idea of jumping on or from it.
Each purchase comes with a free eBook containing 16 yoga wheel poses as well as a free yoga strap to ensure that you can improve your flexibility. Moreover, the customer service of the company has been lauded by many of its users. If you are unhappy with the wheel, the company will either refund your money or replace your product.
The wheel, however, comes only in one design.
UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheel Set
This set of UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheels will transform your yoga routines.
As three different sizes of yoga wheels come in a pack, you can do a variety of things, such as decompress your spine and massage the knots in your neck and back.
As the wheel is created using the sturdy ABS, it can withstand up to 550 lbs (the largest size). A full refund is on the table if you are not satisfied with the wheel provided by UpCircleSeven.
The 8mm padding of the UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheels is another advantage while performing backbends.
A free PDF pose guide is sent with the wheel to guide you through the initial phase.
While the yoga wheel offers a lot of benefits, it is definitely not for everyone.
For instance, for those seeking a yoga prop for restorative practice, it may be a good idea to avoid the yoga wheel. Similarly, if you have suffered from back injuries in the past, consult your doctor before you dive into this new way of living.
For everyone else, a high-quality yoga wheel is a great investment as it enables you to enjoy a good massage at home and will help you with your backbends.
Moreover, gradually you will notice your spine getting more mobile and nimble, so you won’t need external motivation.
Those who stick to their desks throughout the day may greatly appreciate the yoga wheel.
When it comes to your back, popping and cracking is not the best idea. However, it is a little similar to yoga as it coerces you out of your comfort zone and restricts you to an uneasy moment as you survive multiple chaturangas. The end result, however, is amazing!
All I can say now is, fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride!