Ardha Chakrasana (Half Wheel Pose): Procedure & Benefits

chakrasana practice guide
From ardha chakrasana to chakrasana pose. Image Source: Canva

Is it your stiffed back or lack of preparation that’s restricting you to step into the full wheel pose?

Whatever the reason is, trying ardha chakrasana, an easier variant will prepare your body to perform the advanced backbends.

Ardha chakrasana or half wheel pose is a beginner level standing backbend posture. It begins with standing in tadasana with hands on the waist. This is followed by leaning back at the lumbar region, opening the chest, and flexing the head backward.

This asana focuses on stretching the muscles of the neck, back, and torso. It also stimulates the chest and abdominal region leading to energetic benefits.

Ardha Chakrasana Meaning

Ardha chakrasana is formed of three Sanskrit terms where, ‘Ardha” means “half’, “chakra” is “wheel” and “asana” refers to “pose”. Holding this pose, the body is bent halfway resembling a half wheel, hence the name.

The bending and stretching involved in the pose stimulate internal organs including lungs, heart, and digestive glands.

Ardha Chakrasana Practice Guide

Get into ardha chakrasana keeping the following points in mind. If your health condition doesn’t allow your body to practice such a pose, do not push yourself beyond your potential.

Contraindications

  • Do not practice ardha chakrasana if you have high blood pressure.
  • Patients of hernia must also avoid it.
  • Skip practicing this pose during pregnancy.
  • People with peptic or duodenal ulcers must refrain from this pose.
  • If you have chronic neck, spinal or hip issues, avoid this asana as it will worsen the condition.
  • Do not try this pose if you have vertigo.

Precautions

Some additional tips to elevate the health benefits that one would get from ardha chakrasana and to prevent any injury:

  • Try to maintain a minimum gap between the elbows to take in more oxygen.
  • Do not bend your knees while stretching and bending backward.

Ardha Chakrasana Procedure

  1. Stand erect in tadasana separating the feet 2 inches apart.
  2. Tuck your hands to your waist supporting the back.
  3. Draw your bent elbows backward keeping them parallel to each other.
  4. Inhale, stretching your neck drop the head backward.
  5. Exhale bending the upper body backward from the lumbar region.
  6. Lean back up to as far as you can breathe normally.
  7. Maintain the pose with normal breathing, for 3-10 breaths.
  8. Inhale and straighten the back return to the starting posture.
  9. Release the hands from the waist and relax in tadasana.

Follow-up Poses

Relax after giving an intense stretch to your body getting into the following poses:

Variations

ardha chakrasana with hands back
Image source: Canva
  1. Ardha chakrasana raising arms – Raising arms variant helps in deepen the backbend action.
    For this, stand in tadasana. Inhale raising the arms overhead. Expand the chest followed by the abdominal muscles while exhaling. This will flex the lower back muscles deeply. This variation can be easily attained by keeping hands on the wall for proper support.
  2. Ardha chakrasana in the supine pose – Lie down on your back with bent knees. Raise your arms and place them beside your ears with fingers pointing towards shoulders. Pressing the palms to the floor, lift your buttocks, pelvis, and back bringing the crown of the head to the floor.

Therapeutic Use

  1. Ardha chakrasana can be practiced to release any tension in the lower back or alleviate back pain.
  2. This pose can be practiced to cure neck pain.
  3. People suffering from lumbar spondylitis get relief doing this asana.
  4. It opens and expands the chest stimulating the lungs. Therefore, patients with respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis, etc. get benefits from this asana.
  5. This pose is beneficial to get rid of menstrual disorders.
  6. Any postural defect can also be rectified through this pose.
  7. The inverted position of head soothes and cleanses the nervous system to relieve stress, depression, etc. 1

Ardha Chakrasana Benefits

1. Improves spine flexibility

Ardha chakrasana involves backward bend stretching the upper and lower back. It elongates the entire spine and enhances its flexibility.

2. Strengthens the shoulders, arms, and elbows

This pose involves the stretching of the shoulders and arms. The elbows are also flexed while holding the pose. It gently massages the muscles around the shoulders and arms and makes them stronger.

3. Strengthens the lower body

In this pose, the half-bent body is balanced by the legs firmed on the ground. It also stimulates the hips, thighs, knees, and makes the leg muscles stronger.

4. Reduces belly fat

The backward bend of ardha chakrasana stretches the abdominal muscles. It exerts pressure on the abdominal muscles and helps in burning the extra fat around the abdomen.

Like half wheel pose, Katichakrasana is a good variant

to cut off extra fat from waist.

There is a supporting study that proves the significance of ardha chandrasana in managing obesity 2 by reducing belly fat.

5. Improves cardiac health

This pose involves opening the chest and lifting of the heart. It massages the heart gently and improves its efficiency. This eventually leads to enhancing blood flow and improves blood circulation throughout the body.

6. Regulates metabolism

This pose stretches the neck muscles, thereby activating the thyroid gland. It secretes the thyroid hormone that controls the metabolism and elevates the energy levels of the body.

7. Controls the blood sugar

Ardha chakrasana stimulates the pancreas that maintains the optimum level of insulin in the blood. This keeps the blood sugar in control and thus prevents diabetes.

References

  1. Reducing psychological distress and obesity through Yoga practice  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573546/
  2. THERAPEUTIC EFFECT OF YOGA IN MANAGEMENT OF OBESITY https://shjtdxxb-e.cn/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/JSJ.U-2317.63-F.pdf

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