Although yoga wheels have been around for a long time, they have seen a huge increase in popularity in western countries the last few years. I don’t need to tell you this though. You are well aware of the benefits of yoga wheels and you just want to know which one is the best. Well, we’ve got you covered.
It just so happens that one of the Yogi Weekly contributors recently completed a 30 day dharma yoga challenge. We thought it would be a good opportunity to buy and test out the best rated yoga wheels we could find online and put each them through the test of at least 3-5 classes each. Although, we break down each one below, we took the liberty of providing you with our top overall pick directly below for those who are in a hurry.
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Our Overall Favorite
- Find quick and effective relief from lower and upper back pain with our premium back roller. Apply focused pressure to immediately release knots and tension in tight and hard-to-reach muscles. Just 5 minutes a day makes a difference!
- Our yoga wheel gently and naturally stretches your back to increase mobility and flexibility and range of motion.
- Our strategically designed 12" x 5" back wheel has a tough and durable ABS frame that withstands over 550 lbs so you can feel confident it will provide stability and resist snapping or breaking. The grooved textured surface provides grip so you can safely achieve deeper controlled stretches.
What Exactly is a Yoga Wheel?
In the long history of Yoga, the yoga wheel is a relatively new invention. Designed by the founder of Dharma Yoga, Sri Dharma Mittra, initially in 2015 it is a circular shaped prop that can aid in your daily practice. Similar to Kundalini Yoga, Dharma Yoga has some of it’s own props.
Similarly, to other props such as blocks or towels, it can really help in getting safely into certain asanas you may usually struggle with. I really like this feature as it opens up your yoga practice to postures you may have long since written off. Although the original yoga wheel was made and sold direct by Sri Dharma Mittra (of Dharma Yoga fame), there are now many different wheels to choose from.
How to Use a Yoga Wheel
Yoga wheels can be used in a variety of ways. The main feature that yogis find it may help with is any asanas that involve backbends. By placing the wheel under the arch of your back, it offers support to allow you to gently and safely move into postures such as camel or crab.
Although this is the most popular way of using this as a prop, it can also be very handy when holding any postures that involve placing weight on the forearms. Positions such as the scorpion or various plank asanas can be too challenging for some but using a yoga wheel carefully could solve this problem.
The trick here is to hold the yoga wheel with your hands while you move into the posture – the added bonus is that you also have the upper surface of the tool to place your feet on also for extra support.
Additional advantages of yoga wheels include being able to increase your flexibility and balance with them. By holding it with both hands and using it to help in things such as forward stretches, you can really feel it opening up the front of your body naturally. Once you are used to it and at the right stage in your yoga journey, then you can even try balancing on top of it to improve your stability when in normal asana’s.
If you’re still wanting a bit more information on how to use this prop then check out this fantastic video. Yogi Nora runs through some great exercises there to give you a taste of what this could do for you. Don’t our Spirituality section where we discuss the Spiritual Meanings of various words.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using a Yoga Wheel
At first glance, many people may wonder if it’s worth spending the money on this type of tool especially if you are new to yoga. However, the benefits using a yoga wheel really can make it something you will use regularly.
Firstly, it can stop any frustration at not being able to get into a certain asana or hold them deeply enough which will make your practice and yoga journey more pleasurable. Not only can it help you do this but it can also give you a gentler, safer way of doing it with extra support. That would certainly have come in useful the first time I was trying to go into the camel pose!
The wheel can also be used to massage and stretch key areas of your body such as the chest and spine which is great for overall health. This ability to help rejuvenate and work on the whole body is what makes it a very helpful and flexible piece of equipment to have.
In terms of drawbacks, the main one is that it will cost you money! Although there are some less expensive models, it will still be something you have to pay to own. If you do not use it regularly or maybe only practice a few simple poses at home now and then, you may feel it would be a waste of your money.
In addition, anyone who cannot hold certain postures or cannot hold asana’s too deeply may feel this is not for them. As the wheel is designed to help go into positions more deeply or get into ones you can’t presently, the drawback could be potential discomfort or injury for these yogis. This would include anyone with a bad back for example who has to be very careful when practicing.
Another point that relates to the above is that you have to be careful when using the wheel in general practice so you don’t overstretch or go too deep into a posture. Injuries are quick to arrive and a long time to heal so please be careful if you do begin to use one especially to start with.
How To Choose One
The most important thing to look for in this product is that it is well-designed and well-made. It should be solid and constructed to a high-standard. Specifically, the foam that goes around the wheel should be thick and comfortable to lie on.
Of course, you will want to have one that fits within your price range but that shouldn’t be a problem as there is a wide range of choice now. Also, you may like to think about the look of the wheel you are considering – if you are taking it into your class, you want something funky that will impress!
Do I Really Need to Use One?
The simple answer to this question is no. Many people enjoy a long and active yoga journey without using any props or tools to aid them. However, like most things we can use to help us, you may just find that choosing to include one in your practice is the best thing you ever did.
If you think of the yoga wheel in the same way as the block prop, it may make it easier to wrap your head around. It’s really there to make your yoga practice more enjoyable and help out if you are having trouble getting into a posture or holding one when you are there. As well as this it can be used to help stretch out and keep your body supple as already discussed.
Our Yoga Wheels Reviews
Now we know what a yoga wheel is and why it might be something you are interested in using, you may want to run out and grab one right away. The choice on offer though can make it hard to pick out the ideal one for yourself. Although they may all appear the same, each wheel will have its own qualities and suit different people.
We take a look at the five best yoga wheels to buy and help make your practice even better:
UpCircleSeven Yoga Wheel
The UpCircleSeven is a great choice if you have never used one before. Extremely comfortable to use, the soft foam feels great on your back or arms when in pose. I really like the look of this wheel and the way it helps you easily get into any posture you fancy, safely and with little fuss.
Although no printed instruction card or booklet is included with it, this will not present a problem unless you are totally new to yoga. The wheel can dig into your hands a little also when holding it in certain poses so this is something to be aware of too. Overall though this is a fantastic yoga wheel and one that will greatly enhance your practice.
- Very well-made and sturdy.
- The foam covering is very comfortable and supportive
- Looks great and has a fresh, cool feel to it
- No instruction booklet is included with this wheel.
- Sides of wheel can dig into your hands in certain poses (not common)
Sukhamat Yoga Wheel
Made from eco-friendly PC alloy, the Sukhamat wheel not only looks fab but does its bit for the environment too! One of the big advantages of this particular wheel for me is the higher weight it’s designed to bear, making it very sturdy.
The foam cushioning is very nice too and makes this a real pleasure to use in class or at home. If you like to have something a bit different than other people also, the wooden interior trim of this wheel may appeal to you. It may not be the one for you if you’re looking to spend a little less and the foam, while comfortable, could give a better grip but it is still a fine piece of equipment.
- Has been tested to take up to 500lbs in weight.
- Very comfortable to use due to the high-quality foam cushioning
- Cool wooden finish on the interior
- The foam cushioning is less grippy than others
- Grips on the side of the wheel are not easy on the hands
Pete’s Choice Dharma Yoga Wheel
The thing that sets this yoga wheel was is made of high-quality, durable ABS material. It feels a lot less flimsy than a lot of other yoga wheels I have tried. I had no problem putting my entire weight on it. That being said if I put too much weight on it for too long, it sometimes made a creaking noise. However, I was just trying to push the limits of it for this review. In everyday use, it should be fine.
Another bonus about this yoga wheel is that it comes with a free yoga strap and ebook.
- Made from durable ABS material
- Sturdy construction
- Would prefer some other color choices too
- Will sometimes creak with extreme amounts of weight and pressure
Nature’s Integrity Yoga Wheel
The great thing about yoga is that it attracts people of all ages and this wheel may be the right one for the younger people amongst us. The bright, funky colors you can get it in make it the ideal choice for that sector.
A nice feature I noticed on this wheel was that it had a thicker padding on it for better back comfort. If you have or have ever had any issues with your back, this is the yoga wheel i’d suggest for you. Even though the padding was thicker, it was just a bit too hard for my liking. I hope on future versions, they make it softer.
- Wheel comes in a range of bright colors
- Thicker padding for more back comfort
- Looks great and has a fresh, cool feel to it
- Padding should be a bit softer.
Risefit Yoga Wheel
The Risefit Yoga Wheel is a fabulous example of this type of prop – not only for the ease of use but for how strong it is! It can support up to 1000lbs and they have an INTERTEK Test Report on their Amazon listing to prove it. This will keep the wheel in tip-top shape for the whole period you use it. I personally feel that this has the look and feel of a dearer wheel so, for the price, it is a brilliant yoga wheel. They are so sure of this that they provide you with a 3-year guarantee.
A real bonus with this tool is the brochure included that gives information on how to use it and various poses you can go into with it. Any taller people who can find some wheels a little small for them will love this one as it caters to this specific need perfectly. It is made out of an eco-friendly foam called TPE which is always great to hear too when lower quality wheels may be made from PVC.
- Great size for heavier person as it supports up to 1000 lbs
- Included brochure is very helpful
- made from eco-friendly foam called TPE
- The color didn’t look quite as pictured online
Any of the wheels we have looked at above would make a great additional tool to help improve your yoga practice. But which one is my personal favorite?
Taking everything into account, the one I like best is the UpCircleSeven wheel for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the popularity of this specific wheel gives you peace of mind that it is a well built, quality product if you haven’t tried it already. Secondly, I just love the look of it and that makes me want to use it regularly.
In addition, it is easy and comfortable to use which means it does the job you are buying it for. I really like how it gives you the option to hold asana’s more deeply or get into poses you may have struggled with before. Even rolling it under your back feels great as it massages your spine! For the price, it offers great value for money for the tremendous product you get.
Although yoga wheels may at first look like a trendy new fad that will soon disappear, the popularity and amount of yogis using them would suggest otherwise. On closer inspection, they are a great tool to help enhance yoga practice that everyone can benefit from, whether you are a new student or more experienced.