Product Review: Yoga Wheel for Posture
What is a yoga wheel?
A yoga wheel is a new prop on the market for assisting your yoga practice. It can make it more challenging or more gentle, in theory. Although there are different sizes, most are about 12 inches in diameter and made of rigid plastic and covered in cork. They are marketed as a tool to assist in more challenging back bends, balance poses, or inversions.
I don’t know about you, but for me in my postpartum journey, I definitely need some back bends in my life! I spend a lot of my day sitting with terrible posture on my couch, or stooped forward for the sake of breastfeeding or pumping. It has led to a lot of thoracic stiffness and difficulty with maintaining tall, upright posture when sitting in the car, at work, or at home.
I had no idea where to begin when I got my wheel for Christmas, so I did some research. This was one of my favorite articles that I found in describing the best way to use the wheel. This article also links to an excellent YouTube video that demonstrates some ways to begin incorporating your wheel into your practice. And for good measure, here is one more useful YouTube tutorial.
None of these resources are specifically for postpartum yoga, so modify as you need to in order to feel comfortable and safe in your practice. (Be kind to your healing body — you just did an awe-inspiring thing!)
What product did I go with?
I am using an Apana Cork Yoga Wheel, because I got it as a present for Christmas and did very little research on my own! Cork seems to be trendy in the yoga wheel world, because it is eco-friendly and antimicrobial. This particular wheel is hard to find online, except through third-party sellers like eBay. But there are many cork wheels available in different sizes out there. Mine is the standard size of 12 inches in diameter. It is very firm with basically no “give” to it when pressure is put on it. There are also options out there for plastic wheels with different materials on the outside to make them grippy (another thing that the cork is so good for).
The Dharma Yoga Wheel is the original wheel. It can be found here. Their wheels range from $24.99 for the micro size up to $69.99 for a cork “ECO Yoga Wheel.”
How is it?
- The cork on the Apana wheel is very grippy and feels stable beneath the pressure.
- It is very rigid for deep bending poses.
- The wheel is a good size for the contours of my spine as a 5’9” women.
- It is about half the price of the trademarked “Dharma Yoga Wheel.”
- It can be used to intensify a lot of standing or balance poses; its potential uses are really only limited by your own creativity with it!
- The beginner tutorials for using this wheel still seem to show pretty intense versions of back bends. It may not be comfortable or appropriate for a lot of women just starting back into a fitness routine.
- It is not something that you can automatically count on seeing at your local studio. You may need to bring your own, and there are no guarantees that your local instructor will feel comfortable helping you with using it.
If you are planning on incorporating a yoga wheel into your postpartum yoga practice, it can be a very helpful tool in regaining motion through parts of your spine that are stiff from sitting, breastfeeding, pumping, etc. The trademarked Dharma Yoga Wheel is significantly more expensive than some other generic brands out there and doesn’t seem to give you any added value. So I would recommend that you try out one of these cheaper wheels, and decide later if it would be worth the additional cost to “upgrade” to a Dharma wheel in the future. Enjoy your practice!