Since the time the original yoga wheel was created in 2014, it has shined its way through the Instagram profiles of famous yogis and was even named as ‘the hottest workout prop’ of 2018.
Yoga wheels are marketed to offer instant back pain relief, improve posture, bring versatility into your stretch routine and help build core strength. If you're left wondering how a wobbly plastic circle can be better than long-lasting yoga straps, yoga blocks and relaxing bolsters, you're in the right place.
Here I explore this new yoga trend, what benefits it brings into your yoga practice, whether yoga wheels are safe and what are the best offers on the market at the moment.
Meet our top pick - an extra wide yoga wheel for added safety and stability in your stretches and backbends. A sturdy frame can support the weight up to 660 lbs and is available in two sizes for the perfect fit.
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A yoga wheel is a circular-shaped yoga prop designed for releasing tension, muscle stretching and opening the front side of the body. Initially created by Sri Dharma Mittra, the idea has been picked up by his son Dov Vargas and turned into the revolutionary yoga accessory – Dharma yoga wheel. In recent years, a yoga wheel has gained wide recognition among yogis, athletes as well as many celebrities, and many companies have adopted the design for their yoga props.
So what is all the hype behind this yoga wheel invention and how is it unique?
First of all, a yoga wheel can qualify for being the most creative yoga prop ever. It is very straightforward in use – a yoga wheel shapes the contours of your body and helps with backbends and lengthening the areas which are usually hard to reach such as neck, shoulders, chest, spine, hip flexors, etc. But with a little bit of imagination, you can use the yoga wheel for learning forearm stands, building your core and even for challenging your meditation practice.
Secondly, a yoga wheel is a fantastic yoga tool for practitioners of any level. Contrary to the yoga strap, which you use to eventually get rid of it, a yoga wheel is an excellent aid for beginners, but has immense potential for advanced yogis as well, making some poses actually harder.
The yoga wheel opens the whole new world of workout experiments. From massaging your back to opening your hips and testing your balance – these uses are just the tip of the iceberg.
The yoga wheel is a wonderful prop for gently rolling out your spine all the way from the neck to your tailbone. Thanks to its width, a yoga wheel goes directly between your shoulder blades – the area which is impossible to reach with other massaging props. Just 10 minutes a day of the back massage will help you alleviate tight shoulders, back or neck pain and reverse the hours of sitting and hunching over your desk.
Do not expect a miracle relaxation during your first use though. As with the massage, ironing out those tight knots in your neck and spine may feel uncomfortable and even slightly painful. Moreover, if flexibility is not your strong point, you might want to add some additional props such as the yoga blanket or yoga block for support and to decrease the backbend.
The great news is that you can use your yoga wheel for the legs massage as well. Similarly to a traditional foam roller, a yoga wheel can help your sore and tight muscles by increasing blood flow and speeding up recovery. A yoga wheel takes the upper hand though as it is much durable compared to the foam rollers, which tend to lose shape with use, and provides a better warm up before the workout.
Merely placing the back on the yoga wheel offers you an enjoyable stretch all across the front body and creates space in the chest and abdominal muscles. Thanks to the cool design, you can endlessly experiment with a yoga wheel. Try opening up the sides by kneeling near the yoga wheel and draping your body over the prop. Or place the wheel between the legs in the Seated Forward Bend if you need added support or behind the feet to go deeper into the stretch.
By imitating the curvature of your body and increasing spine mobility with time, a yoga wheel acts as a scaffold in those not-beginner-friendly poses and makes them more accessible. Whether you’re working towards the splits or Full Pigeon pose, a yoga wheel helps the body warm up and prevents overstretching and injury.
If you’re looking for a challenge in your practice, testing your balance and adding some core burn is always a great idea. Try placing your feet on the yoga wheel in the plank pose and rolling the wheel with your core towards the front and back into the plank. A yoga wheel provides numerous opportunities for play – just be careful not to injure yourself when losing stability. Start slow and work your way up to more difficult poses.
Pressing a yoga wheel against the back of your head offers a helpful counterbalance and needed support in inverted postures. Advanced practitioners can integrate a yoga wheel in the practice of hollow backs, handstands or the Scorpio Pose. Having something to grip and hold on to as well as having an extra boost from the floor can make a world of difference.
Transform your meditation practice with the help of a yoga wheel. Place the prop behind the shoulder blades and lean against the wall. You can’t afford to slouch anymore and have to focus on both keeping yourself upright and meditation.
There are hundreds of poses to try with a yoga wheel. Here are four to get you started.
Sit upright with the knees bent and facing the sky, place the yoga wheel at the base of your spine and gently roll your back onto the wheel on the exhale. Rest your arms with your palm up by the sides.
This position is a great heart opener that will help your spine feel better after the long day. You might want to play with your feet a bit and change them into the Lotus Position or Reclining Butterfly for a small stretch in the hips.
For a deeper stretch in the arms and chest, extend your arms and let them hand onto the floor behind you.
Come to the tabletop position with your knees and hands on the floor. Set your knees hip-distance apart (or more) and big toes touching. Place the yoga wheel between the knees in front of you. Breathe in and on the breath out lean forward hinging from the hips and rolling the wheel to the front until your belly touches the front of your thighs and your arms are straightened forward.
This is an excellent pose for opening chest, shoulders and stretching the hips, and lower back.
Kneel on your mat to the tabletop position. Make sure your hands are right under your shoulders. Stretch the right leg out to the side and place it onto the yoga wheel. You can grab two blocks with your hands for extra length and support. Keep your hips squared and your other knee under the hip and roll slightly to the side with gentle movement. You will feel a nice stretch in your inner thigh and legs.
Sit on your mat, get your legs as wide as you can so you can feel the muscles in the front of the thighs activate. Hold the yoga wheel in front of you and on the exhale, slowly hinge from your hips and roll the wheel to the front while moving your torso down until the arms are fully extended. Keep your feet flexed.
This a is great spine lengthening exercise that also works on your hamstrings.
Check out the video tutorial below for more inspiration on how to use your yoga wheel.
Many yoga wheels come with instructions and exercise guide. Besides, Instagram is a great place to explore the poses and their variations with a yoga wheel. But don’t rush to perform a Full Pigeon pose with the wheel if you still haven’t got enough flexibility in your quads and back. Yoga might seem like the safest practice ever, but in fact, just as any exercise, it can result in some nasty injuries. It’s essential to forget your ego, stop comparing yourself with the supple yoga models on the Internet and work at your own pace.
The bodies are different and not every pose is accessible to everyone. People with certain conditions such as osteoporosis or those who have previously suffered an injury should check with the doctor before getting into backbends and other extreme poses with the yoga wheel.
Some yoga wheels can be less stable than others so don’t try to hop on it and imitate the trendy yoga poses. There is always a risk of losing balance and resulting injury.
Yoga wheels may offer additional support in advanced poses such as forearm stands, but they in no way substitute a yoga instructor. If you’ve never done the pose before, it’s always a good idea to get professional guidance first.
A yoga wheel may look like a simple circle, but in fact, the massive difference in price (from $30 to $100 and up) should mean something, right? And no, it’s not only the brand name you are paying for. Yoga wheels differ in their material, sustainability, weight load, size, etc. Here are four things you should consider before making a purchase.
Most of the averagely priced yoga wheels can hold up the weight up to 400-500 lbs. Some are tested to be stronger to hold your full weight when standing or sitting on the prop whereas others are meant mostly for milder practice.
Check the weight limit carefully and consider what you are planning to use the wheel for. If stretching and releasing muscle tension are your primary objectives, then you have fewer things to worry about. Whereas if you’re planning to use the wheel for perfecting balance while standing on it, then taking into account your weight and the wheel load limit is essential.
There are traditionally three sizes of yoga wheels.
The standard yoga wheels with 12’’ in diameter work for the majority of heights and body builds. Mini yoga wheels are recommended for yogis under 5 feet tall or those who want a more targeted massage, whereas plus-sized yoga wheels are aimed at extra-tall practitioners or advanced yogis seeking for extra-deep stretches.
The standard width of a yoga wheel is 5’’- most of the people will find it the right size to fit the yoga prop between the shoulder blades for muscle release. Though it is not uncommon to find a wider yoga wheel of 6’’ or more that offer yogis extra stability
The frames for yoga wheels are most often made of PVC or ABS plastic and rarely with wood.
Both materials are rigid and durable, but ABS generally is more shock resistant and has a greater weight limit. PVC and ABS are relatively cheap, making the products made from plastic much more affordable than those of natural materials. Unfortunately, both materials are not the eco-friendliest option. Often, though being marketed as made of natural cork, yoga wheel frames will still be made of plastic.
Wooden frames are a more eco-friendly choice, but as a result, will cost more due to being more expensive and often handcrafted.
While rolling out your tight areas might not be the most pleasant experience especially if you’re a novice, thicker padding on your yoga wheel will provide at least some cushioning for the spine. If you’re sensitive to hard surfaces, a yoga wheel might need some getting used to, so choose the thickest padding you can find.
It might seem counterintuitive, but 'circle' is not the only shape of a yoga wheel available on the market. While the round shape is the standard, it might be too harsh on the beginner’s spine at first.
Alternatively, a new elliptical radian design of the yoga wheel emerged. It not only offers you two surfaces to work on – one more rounded for a deeper backbend, and the flatter stress-free curve for muscle release, but conforms to your spine better than ring-shaped yoga wheels.
The different shape doesn’t compromise the versatility in any way. You can still practice balance, improve your posture and forearm stands, but with the benefits of added stability and safety.
With the magic of online shopping, we no longer have to puzzle over the question where to buy the yoga prop we so desperately need. Though the magic can just as quickly turn into a curse when we have to make a choice out of the hundreds of offers.
But fret not! I've spent hours researching the yoga wheels currently available and based on reviews and my own experience of trying out some of the products shortlisted top 9 best yoga wheels that will help you ace those stretches and backbends.
The 13" Ultimate Dharma Yoga Wheel from pete's choice is a ‘no frill’ budget-friendly option for both beginners and veterans. The yoga prop is made of the high-quality and sturdy ABS material and covered with the ¼ inch foam padding, making the surface of the wheel more cushy and pleasant for backbends and stretching. The prop is well-made and can withstand the weight of up to 350lbs, though mind that the manufacturer doesn’t recommend jumping up and down on it.
Apart from offering a quality product at an excellent price, pete's choice includes free gifts with every purchase: a free eBook with 16 yoga wheel poses and a free yoga strap to take your flexibility to the next level. What’s more, the reviewers have praised the excellent customer service of the company - in case you’re not satisfied with the quality of the yoga wheel, the company will replace the product or send you your money back.
Unfortunately, the Ultimate Dharma Yoga Wheel is available in one design only so if that’s a deal breaker for you, check our other suggestions.
With its simple and elegant design, Purity Wave Cork Yoga Wheel have gained the affection of the many. The yoga wheel is made of the wooden frame covered with thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and a cork padding. The wheel is super sturdy, doesn’t creak or crunch when you stand on it and was tested to withstand the whopping 550 lbs.
Besides, cork is eco-friendly and naturally antimicrobial, preventing the growth of bad bacteria. It is easy to clean – just wipe the surface with the damp cloth soaked in the water-vinegar solution and the wheel is good to go.
The Purity Wave Cork Yoga Wheel sells at an attractive price and comes with a free printed instructional book to guide through your first yoga wheel poses and help build strength, increase flexibility and find the balance faster and more efficiently.
Clever Yoga Stretching Yoga Wheel is your easy way towards greater flexibility, better backbends, and improved strength. It is also one of the safest yoga wheels on the market. Not only it is wider than a standard-sized prop for more stability, but it is also the only yoga wheel to feature grippy padding on both sides to increase traction and prevent slipping in case your hands get sweaty.
The frame is made of ABS, which is a more durable and sturdier material than PVC and can hold up as much as 660 pounds. You can also choose between 2 sizes of the frame: large – for yogis who are 5'6" and taller and medium – for those who are 5'5" and shorter.
The company includes a free exercise guide for practitioners of any level to ease your way into integrating the yoga wheel into practice.
The Stretching Yoga Wheel is sold at a fair price, but in case you’re not happy with your investment, Clever Yoga offers an exclusive “Namaste” Warranty to their customers – a refund or free replacement with no questions asked.
A spin-off on the traditional yoga wheel, Solofit Double Radian Yoga Wheel makes yoga accessible to everyone. Thanks to its revolutionary elliptical form, yogis can choose between two surfaces to work on: a gentler curve perfect for yoga novices and a more rounded for a deeper backbend. The unique form is also great for improving balance for beginners as it is more stable than the standard ring-type yoga wheel.
This yoga wheel features an anti-slip surface that prevents sweat from being trapped inside and the bacteria build-up. Available in 2 sizes, the prop will fit most body shapes and can withstand the weight up to 550 lbs without flexing.
Thanks to the flattened structure, Solofit Double Radian Yoga Wheel is a perfect travel companion. It’s lightweight and easily fits into the bag.
Solofit is not only for yogis, but can be easily used by people with back or neck pain, and may also provide relief for those with Scoliosis. By slowly building spine mobility and flexibility, Solofit offers excellent preparation for your body for the classic round yoga wheel.
Yoga goods from a small USA-based family business Yoloha will offer you the whole new level of experience. Forget about the flimsy PVC and other plastic frame yoga wheels attached to the foam padding with the chemical glue.
Yoloha Premium Cork Yoga Wheel is a 100% non-toxic product free from latex, PVC’s and other chemicals. Made of maple and poplar wood, Each Yoloha Premium Cork Yoga Wheel is handcrafted by woodworkers in the USA, sealed with furniture wax and topped with an eco-friendly cork. Yoloha wheel does look and smell different than its cheaper counterparts – thus, the high price tag.
With multiple artistic designs and rounded interior edges, Yoloha Yoga Wheel also features an anti-slip and antimicrobial surface for safe and comfortable practice.
This wheel can withstand the weight up to 250 lbs and is made to last a lifetime. Just in case the product happens to wear out from use, Yoloha will replace the product at no extra cost for you. You can also get a full refund or exchange the yoga wheel within 30 days from the purchase if the product didn’t live up to your expectations.
UpCircleSeven is among the market leaders in producing inversion yoga accessories at an affordable price. Their yoga wheel is the ‘only wheel you’ll ever need,’ according to the founders.
Made of high-quality PVC, the UpCircleSeven yoga wheel is solid, rigid, and able to withstand the weight up to 550 lbs. Some users have noticed that the wheel tends to flex a little under the considerable load such as 300 lbs, but none have experienced any breakage or durability issues.
Thanks to the thick 8 mm padding, this yoga accessory is cushy for your wrists and back for comfortable stretching and massaging knots, yet firm and supportive during the challenging poses. The superior padding is made with closed-cell structure, thus prevents the moisture from accumulating so you can take your yoga wheel even to the vigorous sweat-inducing Vinyasa class.
You can choose between the cork or the usual TPE topping. While the cork looks very sleek and elegant, the TPE topping has a larger choice of colors and might offer a better grip with your mat.
The company sends a free PDF guide with 18 basic poses so you can start your yoga wheel journey safely and injury-free. And if in any case you don’t like the product or have any quality issues, they guarantee a free replacement or full refund.
This yoga wheel from Body Wheel stands out from the crowd – instead of the hollow insides, this nifty cylindrical yoga prop is solid and features side grooves for the better grip. It is also easy to regulate the degree of your stretch as you can grab the yoga wheel at different distances. There is also a cutout in the middle of the yoga wheel that helps take the pressure of the spine in some poses.
The Body Wheel is made of a high-quality EVA foam, which provides a softer and more comfortable surface for stretching than most of the ring-type wheels. Yet, this yoga accessory is solid enough to practice handstands and balance with your weight on it – the prop has been used for people up 220 lbs. Moreover, the Body Wheel is sturdy enough to double as a yoga block when flipped to the side.
This yoga wheel comes in 3 different sizes - 15’’, 12’’, and 9’’ and is wider compared to your standard yoga wheel for better stability and comfort.
At the same time, some yogis may find the Body Wheel too wide to fit in between the shoulder blades for the deep tissue massage. Some reviewers have also complained that due to the texture, the yoga wheel tends to collect lint compromising its appearance. Others have also found the cutouts on the sides not deep enough for a firm grip.
The Body Wheel is not a cheap buy but will surprise you with comfort, versatility, and durability. If you’re tired of flimsy hollow yoga wheels and are looking for a solid surface to nail that splits and handstands – the Body Wheel might as well be the perfect choice for you.
SURIN yoga wheel is an excellent value for money. It won’t break the bank and does exactly what it has to do – makes the challenging poses attainable, increases flexibility and spine mobility. And it comes with a free carrier bag so you can take your wheel outside and get the additional benefits of practicing outdoors.
The wheel frame is made of rigid plastic that is sturdy enough to support the weight up to 500 lbs so you can stand or sit on the wheel without it flexing. The yoga prop is covered with a latex-free anti-bacterial TPU foam for extra cushioning during that hard stretches.
With the standard size of 12’’ and 5’’ width, the SURIN wheel is suitable for yogis of different heights but will work best for those 5’ – 6’5” tall. Though there are no instructions or a workout guide to get you started, the prop is pretty easy to use once you check a few video tutorials online.
Other than that, the SURIN yoga wheel is an excellent affordable addition to your yoga routine.
Your yoga practice will never be the same with the set of UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheels. With yoga wheels of three different sizes, you can support and decompress your spine and deeply massage those tight and hard to reach spots in the neck, back, and legs. Made of the sturdy ABS, these yoga wheels do not flex and are among the strongest on the market – the wheel can support up to 550 lbs. UpCircleSeven is confident in their product and will issue a full refund in case you’re not satisfied with the quality or have any durability issues.
UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheels are incredibly comfortable to use for backbends and are gentle on the wrists thanks to the 8mm thick padding. Besides, the wheels are resistant to moisture and prevent the bacteria growth and the buildup of bad odor.
The set from UpCircleSeven comes in two color designs. It is costly, but with the three yoga wheels as well as a free PDF guide you will be able to progress at a faster pace and more pleasantly.
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Despite all the benefits, a yoga wheel can’t be for everyone. If you’re searching for a new yoga prop for your restorative practice, then a yoga wheel might not be the best choice. Same goes for people with previous back injuries or any other spine conditions. Check with the doctor first before making a costly purchase.
Nonetheless, coming back to the initial question, I’d definitely recommend investing in the high-quality yoga wheel not only for the sake of faster progress in yoga but for better posture and convenient home massage. The feeling when your spine is becoming more limber and mobile is also the best motivation for regular practice.
Chronic slouchers (like me) and healthy desk workers will most probably appreciate the yoga wheel immensely. Popping and cracking your back is not the best thing in the world, but it’s a bit like yoga – forcing you to come of your comfort zone, living in the current unpleasant moment, surviving multiple chaturanga’s throughout the class just to feel amazing afterward.
Hope you’re gonna be as excited about your new yoga wheel as I am.