The yoga wheel, created by Sri Dharma Mittra, quickly became a staple in yoga practices worldwide. The wheel offers unique advantages that other props, like blocks, couldn’t provide, so the tool quickly became a revolutionary accessory.
But like other yoga accessories, including mats and blocks, yoga wheels come in a few different sizes. Because of the size variations, purchasing a yoga wheel isn’t as simple as grabbing a one-size-fits-all option. Instead, there are multiple sizes, each suited to different applications and scenarios.
This article explores the world of yoga wheels, which size to choose, and how to use them, so stick around to learn more!
What is a Yoga Wheel?
As the name implies, yoga wheels (also known as yoga rings) are circular-shaped props that come in varying sizes. The wheel serves as a tool to aid in tension release, deep stretches, and further opening the front side of the body.
This hollow, circular prop is a great way to enhance your yoga practice, as it can both advance and modify various positions. For example, you could use it as support in certain poses, thus alleviating the challenge of the position. Alternatively, you could use it to deepen specific poses and level up your practice.
Like yoga mats and blocks, yoga wheels come in a few different materials, including the following:
- Plastic: These wheels are highly durable, shock resistant, and can handle quite a bit of weight. However, while they’re undoubtedly durable and inexpensive, they’re not an eco-friendly option.
- Cork: Yoga wheels made of cork are usually a single layer of the wheel, as the main core of the piece is still plastic. However, the added cork offers extra durability, better grip, and superior flexibility over pure plastic wheels.
- Wood: These wheels are an eco-friendly and biodegradable alternative to plastic and cork. Although they’re solidly built, they can only handle so much weight and aren’t as flexible as other options. Additionally, they can be pretty pricey, and the lack of padding on the hard surface can be uncomfortable in some poses.
Yoga Wheel Sizes
Like most yoga props, including mats and blocks, yoga wheels come in a few different sizes, each with a diameter range. The exact measurements vary based on the brand, as some brands have different ideas for each size, but for the most part, they fall into one of three sizing categories: small, medium, and large.
Miniature or smaller yoga wheels are an excellent choice for newbies to yoga and yoga wheels, as they offer a gentler approach to the uses. Since they’re considerably smaller than other yoga wheels, they don’t provide as much stretch, making them an excellent option for newbies wishing to ease themselves into the practice.
These yoga wheels offer solid middle-ground between small or miniature wheels and their larger counterparts. They allow you to sink into a deeper stretch than with a miniature wheel but won’t challenge the stretch as much as larger wheels do. Because of this, medium yoga wheels are the perfect building block to bridge the gap between miniature wheels and larger wheels.
As you advance your skills and become more mobile and flexible, miniature and medium-sized yoga wheels probably won’t give you the stretch or challenge you’re hoping for. At this point, it might be time to bring out the big guns.
Incorporating the larger yoga wheel can offer a deeper stretch through certain poses, allowing you to continue honing your mobility, flexibility, and strength. You can even get creative with the wheel and use it to create a note of instability in certain poses, which allows you to challenge your balance further.
It’s important to note that large yoga wheels can also be a suitable tool for newbies, as they can offer much-needed support through certain poses.
How Big Should My Yoga Wheel Be?
The size of the yoga wheel best suited to your needs will vary on a few factors specific to you, including your height, experience level, and budget. Here are a few key aspects to consider as you weigh your options:
Your height can be an essential consideration in the decision process. Larger yoga wheels are usually better suited to taller individuals, as they better match the taller stature. On the flip side, smaller wheels are generally more suitable for shorter folks and children, as they are better proportioned to the shorter height.
Of course, each wheel size has its place, but some folks may find that larger or smaller wheels work better for them regardless of size. Because of this, we recommend trying out the wheel sizes at your local yoga studio in a few yoga sessions before purchasing the find the best option for you. Or, buy a set of wheels that includes multiple sizes.
Remember to keep your experience level in mind as you consider your options. Generally, larger yoga wheels are best for more advanced yogis, as they offer a deeper stretch and an elevated challenge.
Conversely, small to medium-sized yoga wheels are often best suited to inexperienced newbies, as they don’t challenge the body as much. However, each wheel can have its place at any experience level. For example, large wheels can offer essential support as newbies learn certain poses.
Like most things, the price of a yoga wheel varies based on its size. For the most part, smaller yoga wheels tend to be cheaper than their medium and large counterparts. So, if you’re a newbie working on a budget, you might want to start with a smaller yoga wheel.
However, if you plan to use your yoga wheels regularly and build your mobility, flexibility, and strength using them, a set might be the most cost-effective solution. You can buy sets of yoga wheels, each of which usually includes one wheel in each size. This option typically offers the best bang for your buck, so it can be an excellent option, even if you are on a budget.
A Beginner’s Guide to Using a Yoga Wheel
At first, incorporating a yoga wheel into your yoga sessions might seem daunting, especially if you’re new to yoga. Adding yet another prop might seem overwhelming, making it feel more stressful to add the wheel than it’s worth.
This is entirely okay! If you feel overwhelmed, there’s no need to incorporate the wheel just yet! However, you might discover that the wheel can be an excellent tool to help you challenge yourself (and alleviate the challenge) in certain poses.
Our article on how to use a yoga wheel outlines the following poses in-depth, but here’s a quick take on how to incorporate the wheel into your practice:
- Half-pyramid pose: This pose can be tricky initially, especially if you struggle with tight hamstrings. Use your yoga wheel underneath your forward leg to alleviate the stretch in the backs of your legs. The wheel is an excellent tool to help slowly start you on your journey to increased mobility and flexibility through your hamstrings.
- Upward-facing two-foot staff pose: Learning to do the backbend can be scary, as you might not be confident in your strength quite yet. But just because you’re not there yet with your strength doesn’t mean you can’t start working toward the backbend. Use the wheel as a support under your spine, slowly working off the wheel to strengthen the necessary muscles.
- Child’s pose: This resting pose is perfect for winding down after a heart-pumping yoga session, offering a gentle stretch through the hips, thighs, and lower back. Take the stretch to another level by adding a pull through your upper body. Instead of resting your hands on the floor, rest them atop the yoga wheel.
- Reclining easy pose: This pose presents a soothing way to relax, focus on breathwork, and prioritize mindfulness. While you can use alternative props to achieve the same result, a yoga wheel can be perfect for a gentle, controlled backbend that gently stretches and relieves tension.
- Wheel-assisted lizard lunge: The lizard lunge offers a much-needed stretch through the hip flexors, relieving tension from a long day of sitting at a desk. Use your yoga wheel to advance the pose and get a deeper stretch through the muscles of the hip.