The yoga wheel is marketed to offer instant back pain relief, improve posture, bring versatility into the stretch routine, and help build core strength.
Since its creation back in 2014, the star yoga accessory shined its way through the Instagram profiles of celebrity yogis and even earned the title of ‘the hottest workout prop’ of 2018.
I know what you think.
I’m glad you’ve asked. Because today, I explore the new yoga wheel trend and lay out everything you need to know about yoga wheels:
Let's dive in...
Table of Contents
Meet YogaKali top pick – an eco-friendly premium yoga wheel kind to your body and mama Earth. Made of sustainably sourced wood and natural cork bark, the yoga wheel supports up to 250lbs and is built to serve you a lifetime.
The yoga wheel is a circular-shaped yoga prop designed to release tension, stretch muscle tissue, and open 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 – the 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?
For starters, the yoga wheel can qualify for being the most creative yoga prop ever.
It is pretty straightforward in use – a yoga wheel shapes the contours of your body and helps with backbending and lengthening the hard-to-reach areas. Think neck, shoulders, chest, spine, hip flexors, etc.
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, the yoga wheel is useful for practitioners of any level.
Contrary to the yoga strap (which you use to get rid of eventually), the yoga wheel is an excellent aid for beginners who need help in more advanced yoga poses. And, it has immense potential for advanced yogis who can use the yoga wheel to uplevel their yoga practice, making challenging yoga poses even 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 fun uses of the yoga wheel are just the tip of the iceberg.
The easiest way to use the yoga wheel is to relieve all the kinks in the neck and back by gently rolling out your spine from the top to the tailbone. Thanks to its width, a yoga wheel goes directly between the 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.
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.
I personally think that when compared to foam rollers, the yoga wheel takes the upper hand. It’s more durable than foam rollers, which tend to lose shape with use, and provides a full-body warm-up before the workout.
A fair warning.
Do not expect a miracle relaxation during your first use. Like with the massage, ironing out those tight knots in your neck and spine may feel uncomfortable and slightly painful. If flexibility is not your strong point, you might want to add some additional props to ease into a backbend and get more support, e.g., a yoga blanket or yoga block.
Merely placing the back on the yoga wheel will give you an enjoyable stretch all across the front body, creating space in the chest and abdominal muscles.
But thanks to its cool circular design, the yoga wheel is a playground for endless experiments.
For example, try opening up the side of your torso 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 or injury.
If you’re looking for a challenge, adding some balance work or core burn into your yoga practice is always a great idea.
For instance, try placing your feet on the yoga wheel while in the plank pose. Start bending your knees and rolling the yoga wheel forward to bring the legs to your chest. Then, roll the wheel back into the plank.
The 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 support in inverted postures.
Advanced-level yogis 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.
The yoga wheel can completely transform your meditation practice.
Simply 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 staying present.
There are hundreds of poses to try with a yoga wheel.
Here are four beginner-friendly poses to get you started.
Build strength, improve balance & increase flexibility with this ultimate guide to using a yoga wheel that includes 33 awesome yoga wheel exercises for beginners and veterans alike. Try them today!
Sit upright with the knees bent and facing the sky. Place a 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 yoga position is a great heart opener that will help you feel better after the long day of sitting. You might want to play with your feet a bit and change them into the Lotus Position or Reclining Butterfly to stretch into the hips.
For a deeper stretch in the arms and chest, extend your arms and let them fall onto the floor behind you.
The Child's Pose with a yoga wheel is an excellent spin on a traditional variation. It helps open chest and shoulders as well as stretch the hips and lower back.
Come into 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 as you breathe out, lean forward hinging from the hips and rolling the wheel to the front until your belly touches your thighs and your arms extend forward.
Kneel on your mat, making your way into the tabletop. 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 and place them under your palms 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.
Seated Forward Fold is a great spine lengthening yoga pose that also works your hamstrings.
Sit on your mat and open your legs as wide as you can. Keep your feet flexed to activate the muscles in your legs and the front of the thighs. Hold the yoga wheel in front of you. As you exhale, slowly hinge from your hips and roll the yoga wheel forward, moving your torso down until the arms are fully extended.
Check out the video tutorial below for more inspiration on how to use a yoga wheel.
Many yoga wheels come with detailed instructions and pose guide to get you started.
Besides, Instagram is a great place to explore the poses with a yoga wheel and their variations.
That said, know what your body can do and what it can’t. The bodies are different, and not every pose is accessible to everyone.
I know that yoga might seem like the safest practice ever. But, just as any physical activity, it can result in some nasty injuries.
So if you feel your quads and back don’t have enough strength and flexibility yet, don’t rush to do a Full Pigeon pose with a yoga wheel. Or if you have osteoporosis or previously suffered an injury, do yourself a favor and check with the doctor before getting into backbends and other extreme poses with the yoga wheel.
Exercise even more caution with tricky balances and inversions. Some yoga wheels can be less stable than others, so don’t try to hop on it and imitate the trendy yoga poses you’ve seen on Instagram. There is always a risk of losing balance and injury.
The same goes for headstands, forearm stands, and other advanced inversions. Yoga wheels are insanely helpful when mastering upside-down poses, 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.
Do your best to ignore your ego that keeps comparing you to supple yoga models on the Internet. Work at your own pace, and you can rest assured that there’s only one thing safer than playing with your yoga wheel – lying in bed.
Truth to be told, all yoga wheels look pretty much the same – small, circular-shaped plastic.
So why a massive difference in price (from $30 to $100 and up)?
Because these simple circular yoga props are, in fact, more complicated than they look.
Yoga wheels differ in their material, sustainability, weight load, size, etc.
Here are four major things you should consider when choosing a yoga wheel.
Most of the yoga wheels on the market can hold up the weight up to 400-500 lbs. Some are stronger and can hold your full weight when you’re standing or sitting on the prop. Others are meant mostly for milder practice.
So when choosing a yoga wheel, check the weight limit carefully and consider what you’re planning to use the wheel for.
If you’re all about stretching and releasing muscle tension, then you have fewer things to worry about. But if you’re planning to sit and stand on the wheel to improve your balance, then it’s essential to check the wheel load limit and whether it can hold up your weight without breaking.
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 will suit yogis under 5 feet tall or those who want a more targeted massage.
Plus-sized yoga wheels will work better for extra-tall practitioners or advanced practitioners 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 extra stability.
The frames for yoga wheels are mostly made of PVC or ABS plastic and, in very rare cases, of real wood.
Both PVC and ABS are rigid and durable, but the latter 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. When it comes to sustainability, none of these two materials is eco-friendly (no matter what the seller says). Many yoga wheels are covered with natural cork and thus marketed as eco-friendly while, in reality, their frames are still made of plastic.
Wooden frames generally have a smaller weight load than the plastic ones. They are eco-friendly, biodegradable, but expensive. Due to higher costs, wooden frames are also pretty rare.
The padding of your yoga wheel is no less important than the frame.
Rolling out your tight areas might not be the most pleasant experience in the world, especially if you’re a novice. Thicker padding will provide better cushioning for the spine and less painful sensations. If you’re sensitive to hard surfaces, a yoga wheel might need some getting used to, in which case I’d suggest choosing the thickest padding you can find.
The material of the padding is largely a matter of preference.
Cork looks more “natural” and stays grippy when wet and anti-microbial. But let’s face it, you’re highly unlikely to use a yoga wheel during a hot yoga class so probably there’s not going to be much sweat involved.
Foam padding is also non-slip and sweat-resistant. Some manufacturers even add a leaf vein texture to the surface for an extra grip.
I’m personally using a yoga wheel a sleek foam padding, and I’ve never experienced any slipping even on the wooden floor.
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 golden standard, it might be too harsh on the beginner yogi’s spine.
If that the case for you, check out yoga wheels with an elliptical radian design. This type of yoga wheels 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 also 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.
Let’s also not forget about back benders and stretchers commonly used in Iyengar yoga tradition. These take the ergonomic shape of a half-wheel or rather an arch to fit the spine curvature.
If you’re not planning to focus on balance or core training, back benders are a great alternative. They offer all the benefits of popular yoga wheels minus the wobbliness. Though back bridges are mostly used for therapeutic purposes such as back pain relief and posture correction, it’s easy to integrate them into yoga practice as well.
With the magic of online shopping, we no longer have to puzzle over the question of where to buy the yoga prop we so desperately need.
hat said, the magic can just as quickly turn into a curse when we have to choose out of the hundreds of offers.
Fret not! I've spent hours researching yoga wheels that are available now in 2020. Based on buyers’ reviews and my own experience of trying out some of the products, here are the top 11 best yoga wheels in 2020 that will help you nail those stretches and backbends.
Forget about the flimsy PVC and other plastic frame yoga wheels attached to the foam padding with the chemical glue. Yoga goods from a small USA-based family business Yoloha will offer you a whole new level of experience.
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.
The Yoloha wheel does look and smell different than its cheaper counterparts – thus, the higher 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.
SURIN yoga wheel is an excellent value for money. It’s cheap at the price and does exactly what it has to do – makes the challenging poses attainable, increases flexibility and spine mobility. Plus, 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 of the yoga wheel is made of rigid plastic. It’s 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 those tough 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.
Clever Yoga Stretching Yoga Wheel is your easy way towards greater flexibility, better backbends, and improved strength.
It’s also one of the safest yoga wheels on the market. Clever Yoga Wheel is not only wider than a standard-sized prop for more stability but 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 yoga wheel comes with a free exercise guide for yogis of any level to ease your way into integrating the yoga wheel into practice.
The Stretching Yoga Wheel won’t break the bank. Plus, in case you’re not happy with your investment, Clever Yoga offers an exclusive “Namaste” Warranty to its customers – a refund or free replacement with no questions asked.
With its simple and elegant design, Purity Wave Cork Yoga Wheel has gained the affection of the many.
The yoga wheel is made of the plastic frame with a wood-like design and covered with a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and a cork padding. Since the cork is naturally antimicrobial, you don’t have to worry about the growth of bad bacteria. Plus, it’s easy to clean –wipe the surface with the damp cloth soaked in the water-vinegar solution and the wheel is good to go.
As to the weight load, this yoga wheel is sturdy, doesn’t creak or crunch when you stand on it and can withstand the whopping 550 lbs.
The Purity Wave Cork Yoga Wheel comes with a free printed instructional book to guide through your first yoga wheel poses to build strength, increase flexibility and find the balance faster.
This yoga wheel by Body Wheel stands out from the crowd. Instead of the hollow insides, this nifty cylindrical yoga prop is solid and features side grooves for a 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 can support up to 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.
A fair warning: some yogis may find the Body Wheel too wide to fit in between the shoulder blades for the deep tissue massage. Several 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.
Despite the cons, the Body Wheel 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.
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.
Thanks to the thick 8 mm padding, this yoga accessory is cushy for comfortable stretching and massaging knots, yet firm and supportive in the challenging poses.
By the way, the padding is made with closed-cell structure. It prevents moisture from accumulating so you can take your yoga wheel even to the vigorous sweaty Vinyasa class without the fear of the wheel getting stinky.
You can choose between the cork or the TPE surface. While the cork looks very sleek and elegant, the latter has a larger choice of colors and might grip with your mat better.
The UpCircleSeven wheel frame is made of ABS and can support up to 550 lbs.
That said, 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.
The yoga wheel comes with 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.
A spin-off on the traditional yoga wheel, Solofit Double Radian Yoga Wheel makes yoga accessible to everyone.
Thanks to its elliptical form, yogis can choose between two surfaces: 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 colors, 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 gently prepares your body for the classic round yoga wheel.
If you know your way around deep tissue massage and a regular yoga wheel just doesn’t cut it, check out this product from Acumobility. Combining the benefits of a foam roller and a yoga wheel, this little fellow has all the chances to change your life.
Fitted with a patented bump pattern, the Acumobility roller is designed to knead even the toughest areas and hard-to-reach muscles. There’s a spinal groove in the middle to minimize “torture” for your spine and avoid jamming.
Now, to be fair here, Acumobility back roller is a pretty aggressive product. There’s a high chance you’ll feel pain during the first few weeks. If you do, try placing a yoga blanket or a simple towel to cushion the spine. Some buyers also advise using the roller against the wall so that you have complete control of how much pressure you want to apply.
While not exactly a wheel, this arch-shaped back bridge will definitely do the trick and open up those tight shoulders and chest. What’s more, you’re sure to feel safe and stable – a guarantee you can’t get with wobbly circular yoga wheels.
Made of natural wood, the back bridge supports up to 220 lbs and looks like an elegant piece of house furniture – no need to put it away when the guests come.
Back Bender by Gravity has limited functionality when compared with a classic yoga wheel – you can’t roll on it or improve balance. Instead, it easily doubles as a bolster or a block and gives you extra height and support in challenging yoga poses.
The 13" Ultimate Dharma Yoga Wheel from pete's choice is a ‘no frill’ budget-friendly option for both beginners and yoga veterans.
The yoga prop is made of the sturdy ABS material and covered with the ¼ inch foam padding. The prop 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, they will replace the product or send you your money back.
The Ultimate Dharma Yoga Wheel is available in one design only, so if that’s a deal-breaker for you, check out other suggestions.
Your yoga practice will never be the same with this set of UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheels.
With yoga wheels of three different sizes, you can 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 can support up to 550 lbs (the largest size). 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.
There’s 8mm padding, making UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheels cushy enough for backbends and gentle on the wrists.
The set from UpCircleSeven comes with a complimentary PDF pose guide so you could start exploring the wheels right away.
Despite all the benefits, a yoga wheel is not for everyone.
If you're searching for a new yoga prop for restorative practice, a yoga wheel might not be the best choice. The same goes for people with back injuries - check with the doctor first before investing in a yoga wheel.
Nonetheless, I 100% recommend getting a high-quality yoga wheel for everyone else: you'll see faster progress with backbends and get a gentle home massage at any time.
The feeling when your spine is becoming more limber and mobile is also the best motivation for regular practice.
Chronic slouchers (like me) and desk "warriors" will most probably appreciate the yoga wheel the most.
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.
I hope you're going to be as excited about your new yoga wheel as I am.
Have you tried using a yoga wheel? What's your favorite pose? Share in the comments!
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