Chakrasana (Wheel) or Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Facing Bow Pose | Full Bridge Pose
Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Facing Bow Pose, sometimes called “Wheel”, is a pose either for advanced students, or people who are genetically gifted with flexibility and a lot of upper body and arm strength. Not only does Full Bridge work your arms; it completely opens your chest and your heart chakra.
Preparation and Pose Tips
First start with Half Bridge. Begin on your back. Bend your knees. Draw your heels towards your buttocks. Keep your ankles under your knees. Now, reach down with your arms, laying them on your side, palms faced down. Your ankles should be under your knees, hips distance apart. On an inhalation, lift your hips upward and press back onto your shoulders. Stay relaxed in your throat, and keep your knees together. Roll your shoulders under so you are resting on your upper arms and your shoulder blades. Take a few breaths in Half Bridge.
Move your arms up over your head and place your hands beside your ears. Elbows point upward and your fingers are pointed back toward your shoulders. Your legs (and feet) remain parallel. Now, on an inhale, press down on your palms and move the crown of your head to the ground between your hands.
Again, on an inhale press down on your hands and straighten your elbows, raising your head and your shoulders off the ground. This is where the upper arm strength comes in handy. Push your chest upward, increasing the bend in your upper back. Your head and neck remain relaxed and your head drops down. Maintain strength in your legs and feet. To come out on an exhale slowly move down with your arms being certain to tuck your chin in so you don’t hit your neck as you come out.
Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Facing Bow Pose Benefits
This pose strengthens your abdominal muscles as it tones internal organs. Your brain gets a nice supply of fresh blood (and oxygen).
Advanced or Partner
If you are having trouble getting into the pose try putting your feet flat onto the top of a stationary stool to help with the lift. It is best to do this with a partner who can spot you. Another way a partner can help is by standing near your head and letting you hold their ankles with your arms. This extra brace can make it easier to lift up into the pose; and your partner can assist by placing a strap under you waist and gently lifting you up…. Gently and not too far if you are learning!
Urdhva Dhanurasana is a third chakra pose.
Be careful if you have any neck injuries or problems. Don’t move your neck from side to side and never jerk your spine or extend beyond what is comfortable. Since this is an inversion you shouldn’t do it if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition.
Hold the full pose for three to eight breaths.
Recovery and Counterpose
Recover and come down on an exhalation, reversing your course to come out of the pose and either pull your knees into your body to form a tight little ball, or go into Balasana, Child’s Pose to reverse the stretch on your spine.