Have you ever wondered if there were one thing you could do to keep in shape, both physically and mentally, what would it be? Have you ever wondered what you should take with you for a long trip to ensure that you get a decent amount of exercise?
Wait no longer, as yoga is now booming across the U.S., India and the world. You can do it almost anywhere. It has suddenly become much more fun, and whole lot more effective with the introduction of the Yoga Wheel.
Yoga, America’s Favorite Fitness Sport
Today, yoga is booming as never before. First popularized in the 1960’s and 1970’s by people like B.K.S. Iyengar, Richard Hittleman and Lilias Folan, who brought it to books, magazines and TV, it captured the imagination of the hippies and the Love Generation, who deeply questioned the Establishment.
While originally practiced to facilitate enlightenment, its health benefits, like those of Maharishi’s TM, became increasingly recognized. Gradually, the baby boomer’s children picked it up, and even their children. Today, 10% of the American population actively practices yoga in studios, salons, spas, wilderness retreats… even on the streets!
NFL football players and Hollywood stars have picked up on yoga, both established and new, ranging from Sting, Tom Hanks and Madonna to Jennifer Anniston, Jessica Beal and Ryan Gosling. Getting drunk and wasted on drugs is OUT; maintaining a health life style and trim or muscular figure is IN.
India’s Greatest Export
Yoga is a primary spiritual path of Hinduism aimed at union with the divine, with many different branches. Raja yoga emphasizes mind / body integration and contemplation. Hatha and Kundalini are elements of Raja that focus on the body, breathing and releasing energy up the spine.
Americans are most often open to new ideas and very adaptable. When they fall in love with something, they go all out. They saw the ingenuity of the various hatha asanas and postures, and quickly realized major health benefits, including balance, poise, improved posture and energizing the organs.
Recently, Prime Minister Modi of India has virtually required his cabinet to go all out with hatha yoga and has been instrumental in the U.N. declaration of International Yoga Day on June 21st of each year. Americans have developed hatha yoga for physical fitness and placed it front and center. Post-modern India is now doing double-time to catch up.
Why Yoga Has Eclipsed Other Methods
While you can find many wonderful channels of physical fitness, from weightlifting to jogging to Tai Chi, yoga offers the most systematic, time-tested sequence of postures that systematically address every muscle and system in the body. Yoga doesn’t require a lot of fancy equipment, and it can be done lying on the floor.
Yoga has a deep psychological and spiritual impact on people, such that they begin to open up while practicing, as it mobilizes psychic energy and the subtle body. You actually begin to feel and heal your chakras, rather than simply talking about them. Very often, practitioners deeply plunge into meditation and Eastern thought, and experience a kind of transformation.
Yoga also entails a minimum of risk, as opposed to running or weight lifting. People of all ages can do it. It is equally appealing to women and men. Children, even babies, can practice it. It has become so established that even physicians, clinics and hospitals prescribe it.
Why Use a Yoga Wheel
The Yoga Wheel is the one prop that has truly added a whole new dimension to yoga, a certain dynamism. It is light, sturdy and can support up to 300 pounds of weight. It is equally helpful to beginners as to intermediate and advanced practitioners.
Above all, it is a blast! It is now taking off as a craze. It is hard to think of a cleaner way to have fun.
You can open your shoulders and release tension in your back, giving your vertebrae a break using a Yoga Wheel.
It works like nothing else! You simply lie back on a mat and move your body on top, gently rolling back and forth. From there, you can engage in a full range of postures, including lunges, triangles, shoulder stands, abdominal assists and chest and shoulder openers.
You can do virtually any asana on the wheel, and you can go much deeper than you might otherwise, due to the physical support it provides. This includes headstands, plows, lotus postures, bridge poses and monkey poses. It is only limited by your imagination and a liberal use of common sense.
How to Get Started with a Yoga Wheel
You will find an abundance of helpful pictures and videos on YouTube and Instagram demonstrating the Yoga Wheel in a variety of settings.
They demonstrate basic, as well as more advanced, postures. Most yoga wheel manufacturers will also provide you a sequence of photos to gradually build up your flexibility, balance and endurance.
You need merely settle on the right size wheel for you, which ranges from six to 14 inches. The prices are quite reasonable. You want to choose a wheel that can support your entire weight, can easily be carried and that is nonslip. Good wheels can support as much as 300 pounds. The wheel should have a porous surface and yet be cushioned to support your back.
You also should exercise prudence if you have any special physical conditions or medical issues. Don’t overdo it. Focus on the most basic exercises. Use a mat initially in a safe and comfortable room. Let your body adjust to it.
As you achieve better balance, you can be more adventuresome. The appealing social media videos will give you an endless supply of new ideas.
Gaiam’s Premium Yoga Wheel
Gaiam is a leader in the LOHAS Movement out of Boulder, Colorado. LOHAS stands for “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability.” No less than the founder of AOL, Steve Case, champions the cause. Gaiam has been delivering outstanding products for decades, including a full range of yoga accessories and supplies.
Gaiam’s Yoga Wheel is 5” wide by 12” in diameter, made out of sturdy PVC, the same material as is used in yoga mats, with 5 mm. of cushioning to protect your joints. It weighs just four pounds and can handle close to 300 pounds, which should work for most body types. It comes in navy blue, and is lovingly handcrafted.
Users of Gaiam’s Yoga Wheel have very positive reviews. Users comment on how well it is made… that it is exactly as described. Customers love the picture guide that comes with it that portrays a wide variety of postures, providing beginning, intermediate and advanced versions of entire sequences.
It’s a great yoga prop to share with your partner and entire family.
Isn’t it about time that you treat yourself to a device that is super healthy and loads of fun? What could be a simpler way to get in shape?
But most importantly, this dharma yoga wheel will help you to unlock your shoulder and decompress your spine, as well as adjust your posture. We do so much sitting these days while driving or staring at our gadgets that it impacts our bodies in many negative ways. As we age, re-aligning and stretching should be an important part of all of our routines!