What Is Chakrasana?
Chakrasana is a yoga position in which, if done correctly, the body resembles an arch. This pose is known by many names, including half-wheel posture, wheel rim pose, bridge pose, and upward bow posture. In general, this position is considered to be of intermediate to advanced difficulty.
One may enter the chakrasana from a standing position. To do this, the arms are fully extended over the head, and a person gradually bends backward until the palms are touching the ground. Many familiar with gymnastics may equate this with a backbend as the exercises are quite similar. The distinction is the extension of the position and the addition of controlled breathing.
More commonly, the chakrasana is entered from a laying position. The beginning position is flat on one's back with the knees bent and the soles of both feet touching the ground. Both arms are raised over the head and bent at the elbow with the palms of each hand touching the floor.
From this position, the buttocks is slowly raised until most of the body’s weight rests on the feet and shoulders. Next, the arms are extended, pushing the shoulders up until the crown of the head is parallel to the floor. Finally, the arms are extended until the head is lifted completely from the ground and the body’s weight is supported by the palms and soles or balls of the feet. The body should resemble an upside down U at this point.
Once in position, the chakrasana should be held for at least five to ten seconds but may be held for as long as comfortable. Breathing while in this pose should be deep and controlled. Generally, it is advised to hold the pose for long enough to draw at least two breaths to ensure full expansion of the ribcage.
As with most yoga exercises, the chakrasana helps promote flexibility. This pose stretches most muscle groups but is particularly aimed toward increasing the flexibility of the spine. As a person’s body weight is supported by the feet and hands in this pose, those areas are likely to be strengthened.
The chakrasana is an intermediate yoga pose and should only be performed under the supervision of a trained instructor until one becomes proficient with the position. Individuals with back problems are advised against performing this exercise. Those with hip, shoulder, or leg injuries may also be advised against performing the chakrasana. If at any point the pose becomes painful, it should be discontinued immediately.
@ddljohn-- Of course, people with any spinal injury or disorder should not attempt this pose. This is a pose for people with healthy spines. Even in such people, it can initially cause some discomfort because the spine is not used to stretching that way.
When done correctly by someone with a healthy spine, chakrasana is immensely beneficial. I work sitting down all day and this gives me a very bad back ache. Doing chakrasana relieves the tension and pain for me.
@SarahGen-- Are you taking classes from a yoga teacher? I highly recommend getting advice from a teacher for intermediate and advanced positions. Don't push yourself too much. I'm sure you will be able to do it eventually but you should not try when you're not ready. You don't want to injure yourself.
I used to practice yoga daily. I too had difficult with chakrasana in the beginning but then I got the hang of it and could do it all the time. Unfortunately, I don't practice yoga anymore because I have a spinal injury. I do a few poses like the cat pose and the cow pose but I'm unable to do anything more advanced. I'm afraid of making my injury worse.
It's probably a good idea for everyone to check with their doctor before trying these types of poses. And people with injuries should avoid them.
I started practicing yoga a few months ago. I'm still a beginner but I want to keep learning and I want to do more difficult poses. One of the poses I want to do is chakrasana. I tried it a few times but was unable to do it. I could lift myself up a little bit from the ground but not enough to do the arch. I need more practice and flexibility. I will keep trying though. It must be excellent for the spine and back.
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