(Urdhva Dhanurasana): Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Level – Advanced

Wheel Pose

(Urdhva Dhanurasana)

Wheel Pose Prep & Practice


Beginning on back with knees bent, feet flat on mat. Bring feet parallel, hip width apart and as close to seat as possible. Feet, ankles and knees in line. Hands alongside ears, fingertips pointing toward heels. Shoulders firm in and down, heart and chest spread and soften.


On an inhalation, press through feet lifting hips. Exhale, draw shoulders down back, firm elbows and press up to rest lightly on top of your head, pausing here.


On an inhalation, firm shoulders in and press up, straightening arms and lifting head off floor.


Inner thighs draw toward each other, tailbone lengthens toward heels, pubic bone draws forward. Chest broadens as shoulder blades draw in and down. Arms in external rotation, weight evenly distributed through hands, fingers spread wide. Ears in line with biceps, throat and jaw relaxed, breath is steady.


To come out of the pose, bend elbows, gently lower to top of head to floor, lift heels and mindfully roll down. Rest with feet mat width apart, knees falling in to touch.


  • Block between thighs 
  • Hands on blocks at the wall
  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
  • Strap around thighs or upper arms

Physical, Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Strengthens entire body
  • Increases breathing and lung capacity
  • Energizes and relieves stress
  • Stimulates lymph and blood flow
  • Opens the heart
  • Aids digestion and promotes circulation


  • Spinal Conditions
  • Back, Shoulder or Wrist Injuries
  • Pregnancy
  • Abnormal High or Low Blood Pressure
  • Headaches or Migraines

Thoughtful Sequencing

Bridge Prep (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), lift and lower hips 5-10 times.  Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana) or repeat Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), hold 3-5 breaths, exhaling to release and rest.  Reclined Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana), Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana), Corpse Pose (Savasana)

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