There’s a new tool that’s been popping up among celebrities and famous yogis alike - The yoga wheel. At first glance it looks curious and you might not know how you’d use it. Rest assured, this easy little piece of equipment is quickly becoming a staple in studios and home gyms for good reason. Since having the right tools can make or break your yoga practice - especially in poses like the back bend - the yoga wheel is one of those tools that every yogi should have.
In this post we’re going to show you the many benefits, what to look for and last but not least, review and test the best yoga wheels on the market!
For a quick answer, we found 3 that deserved the highest rating and they're featured below:
What's a Yoga Wheel?
The yoga wheel is a challenged yogi's dream! It’s a hard cylinder with a soft padding on the outside that can be used in everything from inverted to seated poses. It serves a similar purpose to yoga blocks but with a much higher level of functionality.
For example, the yoga wheel is a vital addition to positions involving inversion and placing weight on the forearms like you do in the scorpion and plank asanas. And while a yoga swing can also aid in these positions, you probably won't bring your swing to yoga class.
The main difference between a wheel and block is that the wheel is designed to trace the curvature of your spine during back-bends and encourage your chest, shoulders and hip flexors to open up.
Who Needs a Yoga Wheel?
There’s a reason celebrities and yogi’s use this tool in everyday practice - because it works! While anyone can benefit from a wheel, if you’re not yet comfortable in back bends, or you want to try more challenging poses, the wheel is especially for you. However, if your practice is dialed in and you’ve got years of experience with blocks, then you may not need a wheel.
That being said, the wheel does add a level of support and balance to difficult poses AND massages your spine so you might want to try one anyway...just saying.
Benefits of a Yoga Wheel
- Helps with challenging poses - specifically back bends and inverted poses
- Massages tight back muscles
- Helps achieve balance and core strength
- Provides stability
- Makes inverted poses easier by acting as a counter balance
- Easy to transport and travel with
Lets delve into a few of those here.
Helps With Challenging Poses
It's frustrating to try a pose over and over without results right? We’ve all been there. While it's use is only limited by your imagination, the wheel really shines in the poses I’ve mentioned above - forearm stands and back bends.
By providing a counter balance in poses such as the scorpion, you’re able to fully open your chest for a great stretch while maintaining stability. It’s also incredibly useful in moves involving a back bend because the wheel is designed to support the curvature of your spine - especially useful if you’re still getting comfortable with these moves.
Massages Tight Back Muscles
Speaking of supporting your spine, the wheel also massages the muscles of your back in a form of myofascial release (same reason we use foam rollers). It’s kind of like getting a deep tissue massage right along those tense muscles of the back. If you work at a desk, this will be especially relieving to you!
Helps With Balance and Core Strength
As most yogi practitioners know, your core is the key to a quality and long lasting practice. Because the wheel is sturdy and round it's able to support the weight of your body while being incorporated into planks, arm/leg extensions and other balancing poses. And as I mentioned earlier, it can also be used as a counterweight for inverted poses helping you balance while getting comfortable with the movements and building critical core muscles.
Easy to Transport and Versatile
Like a yoga mat, the yoga wheel is super easy to transport and travel with. You can throw it in your bag, loop it over your rolled mat or carry it over your shoulder. Unlike other sometimes complicated equipment, you can simply set it down and get to work - no setup required.
How to Choose a Yoga Wheel
When shopping for a yoga wheel, you’ll intuitively know what you do and don’t like. The most important factors to consider (beyond style and price) are that it's well made, can support your weight and has a comfortable padded exterior. The foam (or material used on the wheel you choose) should be high quality since this is usually the first thing to go on cheaper products. Most wheels can support hundreds of pounds so as long as you’re not buying a ten dollar product you should be perfectly safe.
Beyond that, the size of your yoga wheel will also be something to think about. They come in sizes ranging from 6 to 15 inches in diameter and about 5 to 7 inches in width. Consider opting for a larger size as it provides more support (12 inches is the most comfortable size for most people).
In our review we focus on the comfort, quality and price among a few other factors. We don’t base our decisions specifically on cost in dollars but on value. What I mean is that we search for the best combination of comfort and quality for the price - the most “bang for your buck” if you will. That being said, I think we've done an impeccable job at finding high quality and affordable options for you.
Yoga Wheel Sizes
There are generally three standard sizes for yoga wheels. Simply put, they're small, medium, and large. The largest wheel is around 12-13 inches high and around 5 inches wide. This is best for deeper poses, back bends, and can assist you with both beginner and advanced asanas.
Medium size yoga wheels are only slightly smaller at about 10" high and the same width. These are good for smaller people or anyone who's ready to move deeper into a back bend but isn't ready to go without the support of a yoga wheel.
The small yoga wheels are around 6" in diameter/height and 5-6" wide. These are really good for rolling out sore muscles as well as helping you stretching and balancing poses. For example, the small yoga wheel can be placed under your back thigh during a lunge or as a front support in Cobra to help you begin deepening your back bends.
Yoga Wheel Size Chart
12" - 13" Diameter
5" - 6" Width
5" - 6" Width
5" - 6" Width
Offers the most support for back bends. Great for average to taller people & those with limited flexibility.
A step up in difficulty and pressure. Offers a deeper stretch & a slightly higher pressure massage.
The highest level of pressure & deepest stretch. Can be used as support for beginner & advanced poses depending on the pose.
The Best Yoga Wheels Reviewed and Tested
Bonus Yoga Wheels & Sets
Our Pick For The Best Yoga Wheel
After reviewing so many yoga wheels, and then narrowing it down to the 7 best to include in this review, it's hard to pick favorites - but we must! So I'll narrow it down to the top 3 because each one is an incredible value and has unique styles and functions. In order:
Why these? The UpCircleSeven Set is the best deal and offers the most versatility. You get three yoga wheels in varying sizes which affords you the luxury of working your way into different levels of support. While their appearance may not look as cool as the cork yoga wheel, it's a great deal that looks good and offers more versatility. It's the best balance of comfort, price and functionality overall.
The UpCircleSeven pro is our second choice because of its quality cork exterior, extra thick padding, high strength and variety of appealing styles. Its highly useful and overall another great mix of comfort, price and functionality.
And last but not least, the Mindful Yoga Wheel gets third place because of its mix of functionality, comfort and economy. Its currently one of the most affordable options and, while it doesn't come with any frills, it's sturdy and built to last.
There you have it! Those are the top picks for the best yoga wheel in 2018. Now get yourself a wheel, start using it and let us know how much it helps in the comments!
1. What is a yoga wheel?
A yoga wheel is a stretching tool that's used by many practitioners including those who have been doing yoga for years. Its common to think that only beginners would need such stretching instruments but because of the yoga wheels versatility and ability to deepen your stretch its great for everyone. New yogi's can use the wheel for assisted back bends (such as in the header image on this post). This prevents your back from being unsupported while learning and keeps your back supported if you have back problems.
2. Who is a yoga wheel for?
A yoga wheel really is for everyone from beginners to advanced. Since it helps you stretch deeper, advanced yogis can use it to gain even more leverage and flexibility. New yogis can use the wheel to support them in stretches and "bring the floor up" while establishing form and flexibility.
3. How does a yoga wheel work
The round shape of the yoga wheel is what makes it uniquely suited to so many stretches. They're made from reinforced plastic or wood that can take the full weight of your body to support you in everything from back bends to head stands. They're an amazing asset for preventing injuries in advanced stretches and even work well in beginner stretches while you're building hamstring flexibility. It helps the user build confidence to increase their stretches while keeping you injury free so you can continue practicing yoga for many years.
4. What stretches are best for a yoga wheel
Fortunately the yoga wheel is extremely versatile as a stretching tool. It's round shape supports you in backbends by adjusting to the natural curvature of the spine. And the padding on the outside means you won't experience any hard surface against your spine causing discomfort.
The wheel is also used in head stands where the user places the wheel behind the head for balance while performing the hand stand by balancing on the forearms and elbows.
The yoga wheel is also used as a tool to bring the floor up and assist you in standing poses such as forward folds and many other standing stretches. The wheel can also be placed below the feet to help more flexible practitioners deepen their stretch and gain leverage in seated forward bends.
Essentially, this tool is a staple in many yogi tool boxes and can be used in almost every stretch.
5. Where can I get the best yoga wheel
With the convenience of Amazon, their very fast shipping and easy return policies we feel like buying from them is the better option. They have the widest variety, generally low pricing and you can often get your yoga wheel the same day.
6. Yoga wheel vs foam roller
There are a few big differences between a yoga wheel and a foam roller. For starters, a foam roller doesn't work for yoga.
It's designed to be a simple foam cylinder that's excellent for rolling out knots and tension but you wouldn't use it for backbends and asanas.
A yoga wheel, on the other hand, is designed for yoga but works equally well as a foam roller. And one of the benefits of the yoga wheel vs the foam roller is that the yoga wheel is more narrow so it fits between your shoulder blades to massage the muscles that get tight after sitting at a desk.