Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark

Feel the Wheel

Build up to Kapotasana by creating a flow of circular energy in your spine.

By Barbara Benagh

Before You Begin

Get ready for this sequence to Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) by practicing for an hour or more to warm your muscles. Asanas that open the shoulders, stretch the thighs, tone your abdominals, and warm the spine are particularly suitable.

As an experienced student, you already know many poses that focus on these areas. Poses that I find most effective and suggest weaving into a warm-up sequence are Anjaneyasana (Crescent Moon Pose) with the arms overhead, Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I), spinal twists, Paripurna Navasana (Boat Pose), Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose), and Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance). I also encourage lying over a bolster for 5 to 10 minutes to invite the back muscles to relax. Start with the bolster under the shoulders and your arms stretched overhead, then move it under the midribs with the bottom tips of the shoulder blades touching the top of the bolster. Relax your arms at shoulder height. You can recall these sensations later in the active backbends.

Of equal importance is a "warmed up" mind. When the mind is internalized and curious, it is less likely to be seduced into pinning too much importance on the final pose. I suggest sitting quietly with the eyes closed for a few minutes, focusing on your breathing.

The backbends that comprise the following sequence build up gradually: Each one is more challenging than the one before it. As you move through them, try to feel the drama of the external form as well as understand the internal flow of energy. Start by looking at the external shape of a backbend, and see how the spine arches backward (or extends) to form a circle that holds the potential of one end touching the other. There is also a subtle energetic circle, which you can think of as a wheel spinning in place. When you focus on the energetic movement of the wheel instead of just the external shape of the pose, you can truly create the sense of a circular spine. In fact, this circular energy will inform the external action, -encouraging your spinal muscles to release into a deeper, more fluid backbend. If you have a kinesthetic understanding of this wheel like -movement in the more -rudimentary backbends such as Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), you can use it as a guide while you explore deeper ones.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Print Print Comment Comment Add to Favorites
Log in to save to My Yoga Journal!
Add to Favorites
Bookmark Bookmark
Full Name
Address 1
Address 2
Zip Code:
Email (req):

Reader Comments

Maria Camargo

very helpfull. thank you.

Add a Comment »

Your Name:


Stay Connected with Us!

Yoga Journal Live events
ep14 YJ LIVE! Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado
Sep 14-21, 2014
florida YJ LIVE! Florida
Hollywood, FL
Nov 13-17, 2014

More Events

Join Yoga Journal's Benefits Plus
Liability insurance and benefits to support
teachers and studios.
Learn More
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 4 FREE GIFTS
Your subscription includes
Yoga for Neck & Shoulders • Yoga Remedies
Yoga for Headaches • Calm, Cool, Collected
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Yoga Journal
and my 4 FREE downloadable Yoga Booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions