Alignment Basics: Urdhva Dhanurasana – Full Wheel
By Kellie Mathes
Urdhva Dhanurasana increases circulation, strength and flexibility in the spine, abdomen, shoulders, arms and legs.
Step 1: To begin, lie on your back and position your feet under your knees, with your feet hipwidth distance apart. Place the palm of your hands by your ears and spread your fingers wide. Face your fingers toward your shoulders and point your elbows up to the ceiling.
Step 2: Press the big toe mound of each foot into the ground. Press down into your feet and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Pull your front hip bones toward your low belly.
Step 3: Press into your hands to lift your head off the mat and then settle the crown of your head back down. Walk your hands as close to your ears as your flexibility allows.
Step 4: Press into your hands and feet and straighten your arms for Full Wheel. As you lift upward, draw your front hip bones toward your low belly to continually broaden and create space in your low back. Back out of any uncomfortable compression in the low back by softening the elbows and/or walking the feet away from the centerline of the body.
#1 – To create space in the low back and avoid uncomfortable compression, avoid rolling the weight of the feet into the pinky-toe sides (this is a common misalignment that creates discomfort in the low back).
#2 – For stability, wrap your shoulders around your spine as you press into your hands to lift up.
#3 – As your arms move to straight, soften the elbows and do not lock the joints. This will allow you to continually broaden through the chest and avoid unnecessary tension in the neck.
Modifications – Walk the feet away from the centerline of the body if there is discomfort in the low back or not enough flexibility.
Kellie Mathes is a Tier 2 Baptiste and Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP) and founder of Go Yoga! Express and Go Yoga! Express Belleville. She teaches yoga classes and workshops, leads yoga teacher training programs and provides continuing education for yoga teachers. For more information and to view the studio class schedules, visit goyogaexpress.com, call 618-416-5199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.