For this classic yoga position, it’s important to acknowledge the maximum potential for your fitness level as to not overpush yourself.

Wheel/backbend- Yoga move - Women's Health & Fitness

According to yoga teacher Monica Rude, “Regardless of the variation of the position you have chosen, if you are feeling sensation, you are receiving the same benefits as someone who is more flexible and taking a deeper variation of the pose.”

Despite the ‘backbend’ nickname often given to this pose, Rude emphasises the significance of seeing this pose more of a ‘front body opener’ than it is a back bending position. While achieving a wheel is the eventual goal, the aim of Rude’s six-week challenge is to reverse the shortening of the muscles needed for a backbend.

“Backbends require space in the muscles on the front of the body that are accustomed to a locked forward position from sitting, driving and running,” Rude says. “It takes time to slowly release them, so be patient.”

Injury warning: “This is an advanced position and anyone with a history of shoulder tightness or lower back pain should proceed mindfully and make sure their body is nice and warm before attempting any variation of this pose,” Rude says. 

Benefits: Backbends are front body openers – releasing the psoas, shoulders, chest and abdominal muscles. They are therefore very helpful for balancing the body, as the anterior muscles are usually overcontracting to allow us to run, bike, climb or throw. The more elasticity we have in the muscles, the greater our range of movement and the greater our ability to generate power in the body. 

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