Eka Hasta Chakrasana - Onehanded Wheel Pose

Courtesy of Yoga Namaskar

This is fun to say and fun to do. "Ek-kuh" "Hah-stah" "Chah-Krah-Sah-Nah." Yes, a one-handed wheel pose. 

Why do it? It feels INCREDIBLE if you have a spine that can articulate thusly, safely. The profound stretch of the whole front of the body has an immediate therapeutic application: an antidote to stress tension through physical increase in tissue expansion and vascular capacity. This allows fresh blood, with fresh oxygen, into areas deprived of movement due to postural habits such as caving the chest and drooping the head when working at a desk in a chair. 

Wheel pose corrects the closed-off front body posture many assume while typing, which can cause antisocial feelings. As social psychologist Amy Cuddy famously explained in a TED talk about posture, self-perception, physiology and social interaction, body poses don't just change how others perceive you, they instantly change your body chemistry. Many find moving into and holding full wheel pose facilitates releasing worries, reducing anxiety and stress that accumulate while working seated, and increasing positive feelings about social interaction and self, in general. Pushing one hand up toward the sky or overhead toward the horizon in one-handed wheel pose further lengthens the side of the body, requiring additional contraction of the core muscles (front and back) to balance, making this a power pose.

What are the benefits? 
1) Stimulation and increased efficiency of the internal organs in the abdomen due to the profound stretch through the upper abdominal muscles, as well as through the front body muscles in general. 
2) Since wheel pose lengthens the front muscles that become short while sitting for prolonged periods, it relieves tensions accumulated by sedentary work. A common sensation during and after posing in wheel is exhilaration, accompanied by cool tingling as bloodflow increases in the quadriceps (thigh muscles), pectorals (chest muscles), and triceps (rear upper arm muscles) among others.

Where it makes you stronger: calves, hamstrings, glutes, trapezius, deltoids, rotator cuffs.

Yous truly foolishly spinning into one-handed wheel in the road! Alaska, 2013.

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