For my birthday this year I was gifted a wide variety of yoga gear. While I always appreciate the thought, one of the nice things about yoga is that it does not require a lot of supplies. I have long figured much of the yoga gear I see is just a way for companies to cash in on a 16 billion dollar industry, when in reality all yogis need is a mat.
But, I love writing reviews, so I figured I may be able to help other yogis make decisions about whether or not to invest in some of the gear out there. So, I’ll start by reviewing my gift of a half yoga wheel.
Price: $15.99 at TJ Maxx
Disclaimer: This article does not contain any affiliate links, and in no way do I financially benefit from my review. However, please do not attempt any of these poses if you are brand new to yoga. Consult a physician if you are beginning a new workout routine. Always practice with caution and use products at your own risk.
I am currently teaching my husband how to crow, and as a teacher I prefer the half wheel to a block. The half wheel is far more stable than a block which makes learning crow safer for my students.
In Reclined Hero, the half wheel provides a nice upper back stretch. This is not a pose I practice regularly due to knee pain, but the wheel allows this pose to be accessible and pain-free.
*Avoid this pose if you have knee pain or lower back pain
I love the extra length this provides for reverse plank! It really works my arms. Gentle pushups target the back of my arms better than anything else I have tried. Use your core to keep your hips lifted high.
Change up your chatarunga by balancing your feet on your half wheel. It does require a fair amount of core strength but really strengthens arms and core.
Seriously work abs by hovering your legs just above the half wheel. Keep your neck soft and floint your feet to keep your legs active.
*Avoid this pose if you have lower back pain
This is my favorite use for the half wheel! Fish is a major heart opening pose, and feeling supported and cradled makes it feel safe and restorative. I find the half wheel far more comfortable than a block in this pose. The arch follows the natural curve of my back, and gives my heart more lift than I can achieve on my own.
*Avoid this pose if you have neck pain
I have hella tight hamstrings. Like, steel rods in the back of my thigh tight hamstrings. I love to use the 1/2 wheel to lift one leg and forward fold. A microbend in the knee will protect from injury, and keep the stretch in the hamstrings.
Last, but not least is a pyramid variation. Based on foot placement, the wheel can take you deeper in your hamstrings (as pictured) or move your foot down the wheel to intensify the calf stretch. Microbend your knee if you have a tendency to overextend or lock out.
Stability- compared to a foam block, the half wheel is more stable.
Curves- the curve of the half wheel works well for the back and areas with a natural curve.
Weight- part of the reason the half wheel is stable is because it is heavy. It’s not a problem for home practice, but it wouldn’t be very practical to bring to a studio every class.
Curves- As helpful as the curves are for some poses, the curves can be prohibitive in other poses.
Overall, it’s a fun addition if you like to vary and play with your practice. It certainly is not necessary to establish a strong practice, but it’s inexpensive enough that it’s worth the small investment. I would suggest being an established yogi before adding this to your practice. I have concerns that it could increase the risk of injuries to beginner yogis. Please use caution if you decide to give it a try!