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Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

Wheel Pose, or Chakrasana, is a dynamic and invigorating backbend that offers a host of physical and mental benefits. Often featured in yoga practices as a peak pose, it opens up the chest, stretches the front of the body, and strengthens the back and arms. Imagine yourself as a human bridge, arching upward with hands and feet grounded, forming a perfect wheel with your body. This pose not only challenges your strength and flexibility but also encourages a sense of empowerment and freedom.

Wheel Pose

The name Chakrasana comes from the Sanskrit words "Chakra," meaning "wheel," and "Asana," meaning "pose" or "posture." Together, they translate to "Wheel Pose." The name reflects the circular shape your body forms when performing this asana, symbolizing the cyclical nature of energy within the body and the continuous flow of life.

Chakrasana is pronounced as CHA-kra-ah-sa-na. It's always helpful to know the correct pronunciation to deepen your connection with the pose and its cultural roots.

Anatomy of Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

In Chakrasana, various parts of your body work in unison to create a beautiful, arching shape:

  • Spine: Acts as the central axis, bending backward to form the arch.

  • Shoulders and Arms: Provide support and stability by bearing the weight of the upper body.

  • Chest and Abdomen: Stretch and open up, enhancing respiratory capacity and core strength.

  • Legs and Glutes: Engage to lift the hips and support the lower body.

  • Wrists and Hands: Ground into the mat, aiding in the lift and stability of the pose.

Wheel Pose (Chakrasana): Steps and Instructions

Steps to Achieve Chakrasana

  1. Warm-Up: Start with gentle stretches and preparatory poses like Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) to prepare your body.

  2. Lie Down: Begin by lying flat on your back, knees bent, and feet hip-width apart, close to your buttocks.

  3. Position Hands: Place your hands beside your ears, fingers pointing towards your shoulders, with elbows bent.

  4. Engage Core and Glutes: Press your feet firmly into the ground, and on an inhale, lift your hips and lower back off the floor.

  5. Lift Upper Body: Press into your hands to lift your shoulders and head off the ground, straightening your arms as much as possible.

  6. Form an Arch: Extend through your spine, lifting your chest towards the ceiling, and create a graceful arch with your body.

  7. Hold the Pose: Maintain the pose for a few breaths, ensuring you are breathing deeply and evenly.

  8. Release: To come out, tuck your chin to your chest, bend your arms, and slowly lower your body back to the ground.

Wheel Pose

When to Do It

Chakrasana is best practiced during the morning or early afternoon when your body is more flexible and energetic. It’s also a great way to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting or hunching by opening up the chest and stretching the spine.

Preparatory Poses

Preparing your body for Chakrasana can significantly enhance your performance and prevent injury. Some effective preparatory poses include:

  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

  • Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

  • Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

  • Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

These poses help to open the chest, stretch the back, and build the strength needed for Wheel Pose.

Follow-Up Poses

After performing Chakrasana, it's important to counterbalance the deep backbend with poses that neutralize the spine. Recommended follow-up poses include:

  • Child's Pose (Balasana)

  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

  • Reclining Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

  • Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

These poses help to release any tension in the spine and promote relaxation.


Chakrasana is strongly associated with the Heart Chakra (Anahata). This energy center, located in the chest, governs love, compassion, and emotional balance. Practicing Wheel Pose can help to open and balance the Heart Chakra, fostering feelings of openness, joy, and emotional healing.

Heart Chakra

Mantra for This Pose

A powerful mantra to chant while holding or preparing for Chakrasana is "Om Mani Padme Hum." This mantra is believed to purify the mind and body, aligning you with your inner compassion and love.

Alignment Cues

To ensure you are performing Chakrasana safely and effectively, keep these alignment cues in mind:

  • Feet and Knees: Keep them parallel and hip-width apart.

  • Hands: Place them firmly on the mat, fingers spread wide for stability.

  • Spine: Extend evenly through the entire length of your spine.

  • Elbows: Avoid letting them splay out to the sides; keep them aligned with your shoulders.

  • Breath: Maintain a steady, even breath throughout the pose.

Duration of Hold

For beginners, holding Chakrasana for 5-10 seconds is a good start. As you become more comfortable and stronger, you can gradually increase the duration to 30 seconds or even a minute. Always listen to your body and avoid overstraining.


In Chakrasana, your gaze (Drishti) can be directed towards the floor or slightly up towards the ceiling, depending on your comfort and neck flexibility. This helps in maintaining balance and focus.

Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Physically, Chakrasana strengthens your back, arms, legs, and core, while enhancing flexibility in the spine and chest. Spiritually, it encourages an open heart and mind, fostering a sense of freedom, joy, and emotional release. The expansive nature of this pose can help to cultivate a deeper connection with your inner self and the world around you.

Beginners’ Tips

  • Warm-Up Well: Ensure your body is adequately warmed up before attempting Chakrasana.

  • Use a Spotter: Having someone assist you can provide support and confidence.

  • Prop Support: Use yoga blocks under your hands if you struggle to lift completely.

  • Partial Lift: Start with partial lifts, focusing on lifting your hips and lower back first.

Who Should Not Do It

Chakrasana is a powerful pose that may not be suitable for everyone. Avoid this pose if you have:

  • Back or spine injuries

  • Wrist or shoulder issues

  • High or low blood pressure

  • Heart conditions

  • Pregnancy

Always consult with a healthcare professional or experienced yoga instructor before attempting if you have any concerns.

Who Should Do It

Chakrasana can be highly beneficial for:

  • Those looking to improve spinal flexibility and strength

  • Individuals wanting to open their chest and shoulders

  • Practitioners aiming to enhance their overall energy and vitality

  • Yogis seeking to balance their Heart Chakra

Benefits of Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

The benefits of practicing Chakrasana are extensive:

  • Strengthens Back and Spine: Builds strength in the back muscles and improves spinal flexibility.

  • Opens Chest and Shoulders: Enhances respiratory function and posture by opening the chest and stretching the shoulders.

  • Boosts Energy Levels: Invigorates the body and mind, helping to combat fatigue and stress.

  • Improves Circulation: Promotes blood flow throughout the body, enhancing overall vitality.

  • Enhances Mental Clarity: By opening the Heart Chakra, it fosters emotional balance and mental clarity.

Variations of Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

To keep your practice interesting and challenging, you can try these variations:

  1. One-Legged Wheel Pose: Lift one leg towards the ceiling while maintaining the arch with the other leg grounded.

  2. Forearm Wheel Pose: Perform the pose on your forearms instead of your hands for a deeper shoulder stretch.

  3. Supported Wheel Pose: Use a yoga wheel or block under your lower back for additional support.

Modifications for Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

If the full pose is challenging, consider these modifications:

  • Bridge Pose: A gentler alternative that still offers many of the same benefits.

  • Yoga Blocks: Place blocks under your hands to elevate the ground, making it easier to lift into the pose.

  • Wall Support: Practice near a wall for additional support and balance.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes to practice Chakrasana safely:

  • Splaying Knees: Keep your knees parallel and avoid letting them splay out.

  • Elbow Flare: Ensure your elbows stay aligned with your shoulders.

  • Holding Breath: Maintain a steady and even breath throughout the pose.

  • Rushing the Lift: Take your time to lift into the pose gradually, avoiding sudden movements.

Safety and Precautions

  • Warm-Up: Always warm up your body before attempting this pose.

  • Listen to Your Body: If you feel any pain or discomfort, come out of the pose immediately.

  • Seek Guidance: Work with a certified yoga instructor, especially if you’re new to this pose.

Additional Preparation Tips

Direction to Face

When practicing Chakrasana, it’s ideal to face a direction where you feel most comfortable and undistracted. This could be facing a window with a calming view or a blank wall to minimize distractions.

What to Wear

Wear comfortable, stretchy clothing that allows full range of motion. Avoid loose-fitting clothes that could get in the way or cause discomfort.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance

Choose a quiet, clean space with ample room to move. You can enhance your practice by diffusing calming essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus to create a serene environment.

Music for This Pose

Play gentle, uplifting music that helps you stay focused and relaxed. Instrumental tracks or nature sounds can be particularly soothing.

Chakrasana, or Wheel Pose, is a transformative and empowering asana that can significantly enhance your yoga practice and overall well-being. By understanding its mechanics, benefits, and mindful execution, you can safely and effectively incorporate this pose into your routine. Remember to approach Chakrasana with patience, respect for your body’s limits, and an open heart.

Happy yoga-ing!


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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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