So you’ve seen yoga wheels popping up on Instagram or Facebook and you’re curious to give one a go?
I don’t blame you!
Sometimes the right prop can make all the difference in the world to your yoga practice.
I’ve done a bit of research and put together a list of the best yoga wheels of 2021 to help narrow your search.
Read on to find out more!
- TOP 12 Best Yoga Wheels Reviewed 2021
- What You Need to Know Before Buying a Yoga Wheel
- How to Choose a Yoga Wheel
- How to Use a Yoga Wheel
TOP 12 Best Yoga Wheels Reviewed 2021
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Yoga Wheel
Yoga is designed to be a complete practice without the use of props. (Check out our beginner’s guide to all things yoga if you’re interested in reading more.) Consumerism and marketing have once again managed to convince a population of eager yogis that in order to practice, they need everything from leggings to blocks, straps, and now wheels.
Don’t get me wrong, yoga props can be a great way to help you transition from a basic pose to its more advanced sibling.
But, it’s worth remembering that they are simply props, and by themselves, they will not transform your yoga practice. You can only progress with persistence and discipline.
So, is a yoga wheel worth it?
Well, before you jump on the bandwagon, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions.
Where are you at with your yoga practice?
Yoga wheels are only really useful to people within a relatively narrow range of experience: far enough along their yoga journey to have the flexibility and strength to benefit, but not so far that the wheel becomes redundant.
You have to have reasonable flexibility through your back to be able to comfortably lie on a yoga wheel without injuring yourself.
If you’re still pretty new to backbends or they’re your weak spot (we all have a weak spot in yoga – nobody is perfect!), then a yoga wheel may have too small a diameter to be useful to you. You may be better off using a Swiss ball for a while first.
Are Backbends something you want to focus on to the point that you’re willing to purchase yet another prop?
Manufacturers of yoga wheels will tout their wide range of applications, but the reality is that aside from some pretty gnarly core strength exercises (which can easily be replaced by a good long plank hold), yoga wheels are a prop for backbends and helping to open up your chest. (They can be used to help balance in some other poses too but for all intents and purposes they are a backbend prop.)
If backbends are an area of your practice that you know are holding you back from progressing, then, by all means, get yourself a yoga wheel and open up that spine!
On the other hand, if core strength is more your buzz, yoga can indeed provide formidable core strength exercises. We have an article that goes into this in more detail here.
So, assuming you’ve decided you want to add a yoga wheel to your collection of yoga props, what else do you need to know?
How to Choose a Yoga Wheel
Part of this is going to come down to your personal preferences, and most of it is to do with materials.
Broadly speaking, the outer layer of the yoga wheel is either TPE foam or cork.
Both will have similar properties to a yoga mat in terms of cushion, grip and tolerance of sweat. But, cork is more natural and environmentally friendly.
The inner core of the wheel, where the strength comes from, is usually some form of hard plastic, either PVC, ABS or some other acronym. Essentially, plastic is plastic at the end of the day. ABS is stronger but contains BPA.
Some yoga wheels are made with a wooden core, which is awesome, but it can be hard to tell online whether this is actually the case or whether the manufacturer is pulling the wool over your eyes with some nice wood colored coating.
The only way to get past this hurdle is to buy from a well-known and trusted company.
Size doesn’t actually vary much in the world of yoga wheels. Most are 12” or 13” which isn’t a huge difference.
But if you have found a wheel that varies from this, be careful not to get confused with what the different size may mean for you.
If you’re short, you’ll need a small wheel… to a point. But a small wheel will also lead to a deeper backbend.
So, if you’re short but a beginner with a stiff back, you may be better off with a slightly larger wheel.
A good tip is to see if you can borrow a yoga wheel from someone you know, or from your yoga studio just to try it out and see what size works for you.
How to Use a Yoga Wheel
Now, this is the million-dollar question and there is no simple explanation.
Except, that you can use it however you like provided you don’t injure yourself in the process!
Most people begin using a yoga wheel like a large foam roller and rolling up and down their spine with it. From here you can go into deeper backbends by allowing your spine to curve around the wheel.
And, you can use the wheel in a number of different ways to support other poses where you might usually use a block.
It pays to watch some videos before you go trying anything new unless you’re experienced and very familiar with the workings of your body.
Do you need any other equipment?
A good yoga mat is a good place to start. Yoga leggings make things more comfortable and less likely to get caught.
Some kind of sports bra is usually a good choice for the ladies too. If you do other workouts as well as yoga, or you’re a runner, make sure to have a look at our list of the best high impact sports bras.
How to Use a Yoga Wheel?
Slowly and carefully! Watching a tutorial like this one is a great place to start.
What Size Yoga Wheel is Right for Me?
Yoga wheels are generally all the same size – 12 or 13” in diameter. Usually, the taller you are, the bigger you need the yoga wheel to be.
But a smaller wheel will lead to a more intense backbend so it also depends on how advanced you are in your practice.
What are the Benefits of Yoga Wheel?
Yoga wheels are excellent for providing support to enable you to go deeper into backbends and other poses that you may not manage to reach without the help of a prop. Yoga wheels can also play a similar role to a foam roller and massage your back muscles.
How do I Choose a Yoga Wheel?
By using the reviews above to guide you! To choose the best yoga wheel for your needs, decide whether you prefer cork or TPE foam, and whether you mind if the core is made of PVC plastic or whether you’d prefer another material.
How Much Weight Can a Yoga Wheel Hold?
Each yoga wheel will have its own maximum weight limit specified. But you should take them with a pinch of salt – some are rated for up to 500 lbs but how likely this is questionable.
Generally speaking, around 200 lbs is a safe bet.
How do You Stretch Your Back with a Yoga Wheel?
Stretching your back with a yoga wheel is as simple as lying with the yoga wheel between your shoulder blades and letting your spine curl around it so that you bend backwards with your head almost touching the floor.
That sums up this article on the best yoga wheels of 2021.
They may not be the perfect prop for you, but if you’re curious and keen to take your yoga to new levels, why not give one a go? At the very least you’ll get a nice backstretch.
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