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.