One of the newest trends in yoga is the yoga wheel.  But what is it, and how do you use it?

From assisting you as you learn new yoga poses, to deepening stretches, to creating new balance challenges, the yoga wheel has something to offer everyone.  It’s versatility makes it great for general stretching and exercise as well, so you don’t even have to be a yogi to reap the benefits.

The yoga wheel is a great tool for stretching to relieve pain and improve flexibility.

Most people experience tightness and in their chest, shoulders, and back.  The size and shape of the yoga wheel is perfect for helping to open up these tight areas for a more relaxed body.  You can use these stretches to prepare for your yoga routine, or to improve recovery time and keep muscles limber after any strenuous workout.

Here are 4 simple stretches you can do to relieve tight muscles:

Shoulders & Upper Back

  • Kneel on the floor with the wheel in front of you, and place hands on wheel with palms facing toward each other.
  • Keeping back, hips, spine and neck aligned in at line, extend arms until you feel a stretch in upper back and shoulders.
  • Relax and breathe deeply, extending further on the exhale further when ready to deepen the stretch. Hold for at least 20 seconds.

Chest Opener

  • Sit on the floor with the yoga wheel behind your back.
  • Lightly place hands on yoga wheel to stabilize yourself as you press up through your heels, pressing your back against the wheel.
  • Rest hands lightly on the ground at your sides to support your balance as let your neck and head rest back comfortably against the wheel.
  • Once balanced, slowly extend legs out straight in front of you and arms out to sides, so body is in a “T” position, and hold for 20-30 seconds.

Back Extension & Massage

  • Sit on the floor with the yoga wheel behind your back.
  • Lightly place hands on yoga wheel to stabilize yourself as you press your lower back against the wheel, lifting hips up off the floor.
  • Extend arms behind you, then roll backward slowly, relaxing your head and neck.  Roll until hands touch the floor, bending at the elbows.  Continue rolling as far back as is comfortable for you.
  • Then, bend knees and drop hips to roll forward, keeping arms extended behind you.
  • Continue to roll back and forth slowly, stretching your back through a full range of motion.

Legs & Hips

  • Kneel on the floor with yoga wheel 2-3 feet in front of you.
  • Carefully set one heel on the wheel, then extend leg forward until straight.
  • Place hands on the ground for support.  Breathe and sink deeper into the stretch on each exhale.
  • To advance, lift hands up off the ground and onto hips or into the air, or straighten your back leg so that the front of your thigh is closer to the ground.

Visit http://www.prosourcefit.com to find a yoga wheel and more great yoga props and accessories.

Article source:  http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Holly_Pinkham/2306407