By Billy Sadia
Posted in Africa Yoga Project Blog, on May 07, 2014
This blog post is about the wheel pose, one of the yoga poses that has given me grief for a long time. If you follow the steps- place your knees hip distance wide on the mat, plant your hands beside your ears and UP YOU GO, it should be as easy as pie, right? Wrong! Well at least it has been wrong for me.
Until one Saturday class this February when I sat next to one of my favoritest teachers and he said, ‘No Brendah, you can do this. UP YOU GO!’ and what do you know, UP I went. For the longest time, my upper body just felt so heavy. It was not cooperating, it was hard and I would look around in envy from the corner of my bridge-position eye (because I mean there is no such thing as watch pose, and you would rather try to do something than nothing) and marvel and ooh and aah and OMG as everyone else went up. And then there are those ones who can do a wheel from their hands going down…do not get me started!
I decided that this was going to be my year of wheels. And it is now as I have grown with excitement and anticipation going up. I am so proud of myself that I immediately text my mother and best friend to update them on the progress I keep making every Saturday. The texts go something like ‘3 wheels today 5 breaths eachJJ ‘
Inspired by a conversation with my friend after the class who asked whether yoga is a question of the mind over the body, I think so because in doing the wheel I feel like my body and mind are actually in sync and all agree that wheel is good for both of them and they cooperate. UP now has a new meaning for me, because it represents breakthrough, faith and moving forward. It is a ‘yes I can and yes I will and yes I am’ moment, an UP I GO revelation.
Some people would find wheels super easy to do but I guess for me I have come to respect my body and look at its amazing prowess in awe. That’s one of the great graces of yoga- the understanding of who you are, and if you take time to listen and notice, you will be surprised at what your body is trying to tell you. Challenge yourself to go up, and see what that opens up for you…it is your practice after all!
And as we do that, here are a few interesting facts about the wheel pose:
- It is also known as the ‘upward bow’ pose or Urdhva Dhanurasana
- It increases the elasticity and flexibility of the spine by creating space in the spine to keep young and healthy and stand tall
- Increases core strength and therefore toned muscles
- Opens the chest and strengthens the lungs
- Loosens tight hips
- It is a heart opening backbend that allows you to shine your heart and light to the world
- You get energized physically and mentally just from practicing the wheel!
How is that for coolness and motivation to wheel it?