Sometimes, you just don’t want to go all the way up into full wheel (otherwise known in Sanskrit as “urdhva dhanurasana”), and you also don’t want to hang out in a bridge pose anymore. It’s towards the end of an intense class, and you want a peak pose to burst your heart open before winding down. But you might have a performance coming up and the wrists may need a bit of a break. Or you may have noticed that in general, many kinds of resistance love to tap at the back (or front) of your mind before this heart opening backbend. Resisting moments such as: “it’s just a bit too difficult to breathe when I get into it” (more on this in a future post), or “I’m not sure I have enough juice for this one right now”.
One of the many lovely aspects of the yoga practice is that there are always options. The practice is for everyone at anytime.
So, what to do? You’re all fired up but need to take it easy on the wrists. Go ahead and take the hands along-side the ears and prop yourself onto the crown of the head as you would when coming up into urdhva dhanurasana.
– Evenly distribute the weight between your hastas (hands) and padas (feet) and the crown of the head. You can hang out here in your almost full wheel OR:
– Interlace your fingers behind your head to prop onto your forearms. You may keep the head lightly resting on the ground. Or you can begin to lift the head off of the ground. The use of the forearms is a beautiful variation of full wheel. However, for many folks it is also a much more intense version of full wheel.
Choose wisely. The most advanced practice is the one that knows where the practice is at any given moment.