When I first saw the Dharma Yoga Wheel popping up on my Instagram feed last year, I was intrigued. I saw yogis draping their backs over the prop to open their backs and executing standing postures on it to challenge their balance. Still, as with many things Instagram, I was content to just see pictures of the DYW; I figured it was for yogis more bendy than I. Then a friend brought her DYW to the yoga studio where we both teach. She graciously demonstrated how she used it and even let me try it out. I loved how sturdy it felt, as well as the mat-like covering that rimmed its outer surface. I tried using it in a forearm scorpion pose and felt a delicious stretch in my shoulders and triceps. I was sold. A couple months later I bought my own DYW. Let me tell you a bit about my experience thus far.
What I love:
First and foremost, I love to roll my back over this prop. If I sleep funny or hold tension in my shoulders from the day, a few minutes rolling out the kinks on the DYW works WONDERS. No joke. One day, my husband spent the entire day in discomfort because he pinched some back muscles in his sleep. That evening, I suggested he try the DYW. After a few minutes rolling on the wheel, he felt hardly any discomfort anymore and he recovered the range of motion in his shoulders he lacked just minutes before.
I also love using the wheel as a stabilizer in certain poses. I place it under my belly while I’m working splits, and grip it between my hands in forearm stand. Weighing four pounds, the DYW offers a stable base that allows me to further release into splits and further engage through the shoulder girdle in forearm stand.
Finally, I love using the DYW as a shoulder opener. I tend to retain tension in my shoulders, and gripping the wheel as I work gentle backbends helps release those knotty muscles every time.
What I wish:
At $99 a pop, the DYW is a spendy piece of merchandise; I would love for the price to come down to widen its availability. Happily, you can save 10-30% by following @dharmayogawheel on Instagram and looking out for discount codes (I got 10% off on mine by using the code “yogineo”, which is the name of an Instagrammer and DYW ambassador).
I also wish the inner surface had the same mat-like grip of the outer. That would allow for a better grip, particularly in poses like dancer, where you could use the wheel in lieu of a strap. The wheel works beautifully to help bring the foot closer to the hands, but I always have to place my foot or toes juuuust right in the hard PVC to avoid pain.
Ultimately, I’m glad I bought the DYW, as I use it at least four or five times a week. Though I mostly use it during my practice, I also sometimes use it just to loosen clenched back or shoulder muscles. For that reason alone, I’d say the DYW was worth the splurge. Visit the DYW website to check out the various sizes and materials available and see which wheel is right for your height and practice needs.
As I refine my use of the DYW, I’ll be sure to share my updates here. Namaste y’all!