Full wheel pose, otherwise known as the backbend, is a powerful yoga posture that stretches the whole front body and strengthens the arms, wrists, legs, butt and abs. Because it is an inversion, it increases energy and improves circulation. Despite its aesthetic simplicity, there is actually quite a bit going on in the pose which is why it can be tough to nail down. If you find yourself in this boat, here are four ways to improve your backbend.
1. Visualize the Yoga Pose
I've talked about the power of visualization in the yoga practice before and the same applies here. Visualize the body as a wide upside down letter U. Doing this will prevent a common error which is bending only in the lumbar spine (the five vertebrae between the ribcage and the pelvis). This places unnecessary pressure on the low back and may cause injury. Instead, think about lengthening the spine and lifting the chest away from the mat.
2. Check the Alignment
To set up for backbend, lay on the mat on your back. Bring the pubic bone toward the navel. This protects the lower back. Then, take a look at the other tips for backbend. For me, the biggest pointers were to look between the thumbs, and keep the knees in line with the hips.
3. Strengthen with Other Yoga Poses
4. Remember to Rest
There is nothing worse than being so close to your goal and then sustaining an injury. Remember to always stay in the moment, find your edge, and allow time for recovery after particularly physical yoga practices. Keep coming to the mat, do the practice, and the pose will eventually come.