The Best Yoga Wheels & What They Are Used For
If yoga is an important part of your world you’ll know just how incredible the impact on your health can be when you maintain a regular practice.
The ancient, multifaceted philosophy has evolved so much over the years from its Indian roots to the modern studios of the Western world, but at its core it remains a discipline with incredible spiritual, mental, emotional and physical benefits – a unique practice that encourages a mindful, compassionate and healthy lifestyle.
People who have a regular Yoga practice find that it decreases stress, relieves anxiety, helps with weight loss, increases flexibility and balance, and improves mindfulness, enhances sleep and general quality of life. Finding the time to take part in some form of yoga just a few times a week may be enough to make a significant difference to your health.
If you’re a seasoned yogi you may or may not have heard about the relative newcomer to the world of yoga – the yoga wheel.
They’re much less complicated than they look and work to assist you with any number of yoga asanas, poses and postures.
What are Yoga Wheels?
A yoga wheel is a highly functional, circular shaped hard cylinder with soft padding on the outside that can help you to release muscle tension, roll out the spine, reach certain poses and stretch and open the front side of the body.
As it’s naturally shaped to the contours of your body, it can help with lengthening in areas that are harder to reach such as your neck and shoulders, chest, spine and hip flexors. A bit like a traditional foam roller, a yoga wheel can really assist your sore muscles and due to its size (usually 12” diameter) fits right between the shoulder blades for a wonderful massage and spine rolling.
Yoga wheels can also be incorporated into your practice for yogis of all levels. It works as a great aid for beginners and advanced yogis, challenging you and also assisting you when learning to master certain poses. Similar to blocks and straps a yoga wheel can assist you to reach a pose, but unlike those two things you don’t need to put it away once you master a pose, as the wheel will adapt to harder poses too as you up your skill level.
How to Use Yoga Wheels
There are some excellent ways to use your yoga wheel and hundreds of different poses that you can try out, including the following:
- Child’s Pose
- Spinal Stretch
- Gate pose
- Seated forward fold
- Thread the needle
The list goes on and we will dive into details in another article.
Are they Safe to Use?
Yoga wheels usually come accompanied with instructions but you can find many helpful guides on the Internet also. They are safe to use but like anything, use your common sense and intuition to discover what’s best for your body and abilities. A yoga wheel should be used with care just like doing any form of yoga without an instructor, and when in doubt seek professional guidance rather than trying to push yourself to do a fancy pose with a wheel as a prop. Remember that the practice of yoga is all about being mindful and aware, the antithesis of pushing and striving or comparing. So go about it with care.
Benefits of Yoga Wheels
Helps with Challenging Poses
The wheel is designed to compliment the curve of your spine, something you will see incredibly helpful in poses such as backbends.
Massages your body/ pain relief
The wheel is a wonderful tool for massaging the muscles of your back and shoulders in a kind of myofascial release, targeting those tense muscles in your neck and spine. If you work at a desk or sitting down a lot, this is a miracle worker. You can also roll out down your entire length of spine for a deep stretch and muscle relaxer.
Helps improve Flexibility
It can eventually contribute to improving your flexibility by helping you to go further into certain poses, always at your own pace for safety of course.
Helps achieve core strength and Balance
This applies with certain positions like Plank pose or similar balancing and core strength postures. You can use the wheel to challenge your abilities and gently increase your stamina.
Aids with inverted poses like handstands
The wheel acts as a great counterbalance in inverted poses like handstands or headstands. It can also be a helpful support while you settle into a pose and get comfortable.
Helps with meditation poses
Using the wheel to aid your posture in meditation can also improve your practice.
They are also very versatile and easy to take anywhere with you.
What to look for when buying a yoga wheel.
Believe it or not there is a wide variety of yoga wheels on the market so you’ll want to be prepared when choosing your purchase. There are differences in price, material, size, weight load and more. Here are some of the essentials to consider when buying a yoga wheel.
Material and Padding
Comfort is going to be important to you when you use your wheel, so think about that carefully. You’ll want to choose one with thicker padding if you are more sensitive to rolling out on hard surfaces. Many yoga wheels have frames made from PVC or ABS plastic, which are both, rigid and durable but not very environmentally friendly. Look out for yoga wheels that say they are made of natural cork but are actually also plastic. Wooden frames are a more natural and eco-friendly option but you’ll have to pay more as they are usually handcrafted.
Yoga wheels come in sizes from 6 -15” in diameter and about 5 -7 “ in width. The standard yoga wheel is usually 12 “ which is ideal for most heights and builds. The width is really a personal thing and depends on whether you can fit between your shoulder blades for a nice muscle release. Depending on your height and whether you are after a more targeted massage, you can choose a mini wheel or a larger wheel if you are taller.
You must have the right yoga wheel to support your weight. Most can hold up to 400-500 pounds but there are others which have been tested to be stronger and hold your body weight when standing or sitting on the wheel. As a general rule, most average priced yoga wheels will support your weight for stretching and muscle release but think twice about an extremely cheap wheel which may not have the support your require, especially if you want to perfect any balancing postures.
Yoga Wheel Reviews
Below we have reviewed some of the best yoga wheels on the market for comfort, quality, style and affordability so that you can make an informed decision and purchase a yoga wheel that suits your taste and meets your requirements. .
UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheel
This is a popular product from one of the market leaders in yoga accessories. The sturdy wheel is 12 inches by 5 inches and made of strong and high-quality PVC making it solid, durable, rigid and supportive of weight up to 550 lbs. The wheel has a superior 8mm padding, which cushions your feet, hands and back and is super comfortable for rolling out and massaging knots.
Additionally, the closed-cell structure of the padding makes it perfectly sweat resistant and ideal for inversions and hot yoga studios. Choose from cork or TPE topping (with a bigger range of colors).
A freebie comes in the form of a PDF guide to basic poses for beginners. An excellent choice.
Mindful Yoga Yoga Wheel
The Mindful Yoga heel is a great affordable option measuring 12 by 5 inches with a ¾ inch thickness and coated in TPE for good grip.
This yoga wheel promises to be a good balance of comfort, quality and style. It’s sturdy and made from eco-friendly and anti-bacterial materials.
You can also feel travel with this lightweight wheel easily plus it has a stylish and attractive design.
It promises to withstand repeated use with its durable materials yet lightweight construction, a perfect addition for those looking to work on flexibility and strength, opening up the back and shoulders and rolling between the shoulder blades.
Body Wheel Yoga Wheel
This wheel gets full marks for originality, standing out for its hollow-less design. It’s also made of high quality EVA foam that makes it softer, upping the comfort levels for stretching out your spine over it compared to some of the other wheels. The wheel also has side grooves so that you grab on to it and the cut out design in the middle of the wheel can help remove spine pressure in certain positions.
This model also bridges the gap between a foam roller, a wheel and a block or physio ball. It can hold up to 220 lbs and will work for handstand practice and balancing poses.
It comes in sizes 9, 12 and 15 inches and is a little wider than most other wheels, which might pose an issue if you want to fit it between your shoulder blades.
Perfect if you would like a more solid yoga wheel that could also double as a block.
Seigla Yoga Wheel
The Seigla wheel boasts weight support of up to 600 pounds. It’s a powerful wheel with high functionality but not so much choice in style.
It measures 12 inches and is made from TPE foam coating and a PVC core. Similar to cork it has anti- bacterial qualities free from chemicals and dyes and offers good slip protection.
A great choice for anyone wanting to try out a sturdy wheel for balancing poses and improve their yoga practice.
Risefit Yoga Wheel
This takes the prize for strongest wheel offering up to 1000lbs support (but bear in mind that’s going to be more than you need!).
It’s made of eco-friendly foam and has good grip, keeps its shape and provides a comfortable outer layer for rolling between your shoulder blades or along your spine.
It’s quite a firm surface so bear that in mind if you prefer a thicker cushioning. You can choose from some pretty unique designs with this wheel, so if you want your yoga prop to stand out from the crowd style wise, check out the range of designs.