How Using a Yoga Wheel Like Kate Hudson Can Help You Stretch More Deeply

Even while pregnant, Kate Hudson manages to pull off advanced exercises and yoga moves. The Fabletics founder posed for a "first trimester photo shoot" poolside in mint green gear. But instead of a "bed and a bucket," as she wrote in her Instagram caption, she balanced on a yoga wheel with exactly zero(!) feet on the ground.

You can check it out on Instagram, via @katehudson, here:

You may or may not have seen a yoga wheel hanging out by the blocks and straps at your yoga studio, but trainers encourage the wheel for both advanced and restorative yoga postures. The yoga wheel can help "deepen one’s yoga practice as well as assist in various poses," NYC-based yoga instructor and certified personal trainer Alex Silver-Fagan tells SELF. Like other yoga props, the wheel quite literally can help deepen a stretch or make certain poses more accessible to you.

A yoga wheel is especially great for stretching out your back and chest.

"If using a yoga wheel consistently throughout your practice, eventually your body will gain more mobility and flexibility, specifically in the spine," Silver-Fagan says. She recommends adding the wheel to Supta Badda Konasana, or Reclining Bound Angle pose, in which you bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall apart toward the floor. "Lean back onto the wheel, placing your spine along its curve, to help deepen the [chest-opening effect] and add more mobility in your backbend," says Silver-Fagan.

As in Hudson's Instagram, the wheel can also serve as an unstable surface that will help challenge your balance and core strength.

In her Instagram post, Hudson is using the wheel to advance a three-legged table top position. She has her hands on the ground, wrists stacked directly underneath her shoulders (like a plank), and one knee on the wheel. She's lifting the other leg up and down to target her glutes. According to Omri Kleinberger, yoga instructor at bodē nyc, "lifting the leg up from this position stretches the hip flexors, strengthens the glutes, and engages the shoulders and chest for upper-body strength and stability."

Balancing on the wheel and still maintaining proper form throughout the movement demands a lot of your core—making the wheel a great tool for training core stability. "I'd call this an exercise [instead of a yoga pose]," says Lara Gobins, yoga instructor and general manager at CorePower Yoga in Brooklyn, New York. "It's very challenging, but I wouldn't say it's not accessible. It takes a lot of core stability, which obviously [Hudson] has." Gobins recommends the exercise only for somebody who already is comfortable with both yoga and strength training.

But most people turn to the yoga wheel for increased flexibility, rather than a challenging workout.

"The wheel works with the natural curvature of your spine, rather than a square firm foundation of a block," says Gobins. This can help you roll out to deeper positions more comfortably.


Beyond adding it to Reclining Bound Angle, there are a few other ways you can use the wheel to increase flexibility. Try incorporating the yoga wheel into your bridge pose, says Gobins. Start with both feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Then, raise your hips as if you were moving into bridge pose and drape your low back along the wheel. Adding the wheel helps open up and stretch your chest, pecs, and belly even more.

The wheel can also help you get deeper into lower-body stretches. Start with a lunge, with one knee forward and the back knee resting on the ground. Then, lift your back knee and place the top of your foot on the wheel. Walk your front foot forward for a really intense quad and psoas (the biggest hip flexor muscle) stretch. This one takes a little more poise, Gobins says, so only do it if you can maintain stability in your core throughout.

The yoga wheel is especially beneficial for anyone who spends "a big part of their day in a hunched forward position either sitting or on their phone," says Kleinberger, since it helps extend your spine and open up your chest—basically the opposite position you've been in all day. Next time your spine is feeling tight, wheel it right open for a little bit of relief.

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