If you, like us, are constantly on the hunt for ways to perfect your Downward-Facing Dog, regulate your breathing technique and just generally improve your yoga game, you're going to want to get acquainted with the newest piece of yoga kit on the block: the yoga wheel. Not to be confused with a foam roller, a yoga wheel is a hollow hoop made of plastic that will aid your balance, stability and flexibility. Used right, it may prove as vital to your practice as your yoga mat is. Get the full 411 on what a yoga wheel is below.
So, what's the point, you ask? Created by two expert yoga teachers, the Dharma Yoga Wheel was first created as a tool to help boost flexibility in the back. "It's the perfect tool for today's society. The nature of everyone being stuck behind a screen and sitting all day will cause bad posture, but we created the wheel to make back bending accessible to everyone," explains Dov Vargas, co-founder of Dharma.
But it isn't just for beginners—it's also brilliant at helping you achieve those tricky poses that have so far eluded you. "Some of the benefits from using the yoga wheel are creating space in the thoracic [spine], shoulders, chest and abdomen," Vargas adds, and many yogis use the wheel to help themselves flow from one move to another, helping users really improve their skills.
If you're looking to boost your core strength, then the yoga wheel can be pretty useful too. As it's a wheel, it isn't super stable, so using it in balance poses (where you lean against it) will help engage your core muscles to keep it in place.
Search the #DharmaYogaWheel hashtag and you'll see loads of ways you can incorporate it into your practice, but don't be put off if it all seems pretty advanced. "If you are new to the wheel, just rolling and lying on the wheel for a few minutes a day can make a huge difference," promises Vargas. Plus, you'll find plenty of helpful guides to beginner poses on the Dharma Yoga Wheel website.
Now, are you still trying to master the basics? Our resident yoga guru, Shona Vertue, talked us through how to do a Sun Salutation.