Asana of the Month: Wheel (urdhva dhanurasana)

Wheel pose, also know as upward-facing bow, is a challenging back bend that strengthens the arms, legs, back, and abdomen. While usually classified as a backward bending pose, people with glaucoma should use caution and talk to their eye doctor about the the possibility of increased eye pressure doing this pose.

English Name: Wheel

Alternate English Name: Upward-facing Bow

Sanskrit Name: Urdhva Dhanurasana

Difficulty Level: 5

Start Position: Lying on Back


Step 1.

Bend your knees placing both feet on the floor.

Step 2.

Place your hands alongside your head.

Step 3.

Use your arms to lift your body up  as you straighten both arms.

Step 4.

Hold the pose for several breaths or as long as it feel comfortable, and then lower yourself back down to lying on your back.

Physical Benefits:

  • Maintains spine stretch and flexibility
  • Stretches wrists, arms, abdomen, and back
  • Opens up the chest
  • Improves lung capacity
  • Helps pituitary and thyroid function
  • Increases stamina
  • Improves digestions
  • Strengthens legs, arm, buttocks, back, chest, shoulders, and wrists
  • May relieve backache and asthma

Mental Benefits

  • Reduces stress
  • Stimulates thinking
  • Relieves mild anxiety & depression


  • High or low blood pressure
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Glaucoma
  • Leg, arm, or back injury