Cakrasana Doin Wheelies

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Cakrasana (pronounced chah-KRAH-sah-nah) makes your body strong and mobile, like a wheel. It stretches and strengthens the stomach, improves the concentration by bringing blood to the head, and gives greater control over the body. It also prevents bad posture, tones the extremities, improves the memory, heightens energy and vitality, brings a feeling of lightness to the body, and improves circulation to the trachea and larynx. (The trachea—also known as the windpipe—is the passageway between the larynx and the lungs, and the larynx is the area of the throat that contains the vocal cords.)

In the wheel pose, your hips may feel too tight to lengthen sufficiently. If your shoulders are tight or your arms are weak, you may be unable to push yourself up into position. Just keep working at it, and one day ... POW! There it is.

1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.

2. Bend your elbows toward the sky and bring your palms to the floor next to your ears, fingers facing your feet.

3. Lift your navel (think of lifting your Mars chakra, located behind your navel), and push your torso up into an arch using your arms and legs. Your body will form an arch shape, and your head should be off the floor, your arms and legs almost straight.

4. Hold for as long as is comfortable, then gently come back down.

5. Getting Started: If the full wheel pose is too difficult, you can modify the position. In this variation, the stomach remains flat and the elbows and knees stay bent, so you aren't pushing yourself all the way up. You can leave your head resting on the floor between your hands.

Backbends can help you laugh more ... and better! Don't we all need more and better laughs?

Know Your Sanskrit

The wheel pose is the most dynamic of backbends. It's the one that effectively stimulates all of the chakras (or cakras). Hence the name of the pose: cakra-sana.

Know Your Sanskrit

The wheel pose is the most dynamic of backbends. It's the one that effectively stimulates all of the chakras (or cakras). Hence the name of the pose: cakra-sana.

The Least You Need to Know

^ Backbending poses are important for increasing flexibility, as well as keeping various internal organs open and free.

^ Open, toned organs result in open chakras and a free flow of energy throughout the body.

^ Backbends are great for people who work at desks or computers all day; they correct that hunched-over posture.

^ Backbends make it easier to breathe deeply and fully; they stimulate the body and get more oxygen to the brain.

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The Chakra Checklist

The Chakra Checklist

The chakras are described as being aligned in an ascending column from the base of the back to the top of the head. New Age practices frequently associate each chakra with a particular color.

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