I became an athlete when I was older, in my very late thirties after at least twenty years on the couch. My body, mind, and soul have definitely changed as I train and participate in long distance endurance events. My body has taken a beating and I do invest in recovery accessories from compression socks to foam rollers. But recently, this made its way to my doorstep: the Dharma Yoga Wheel which I received in exchange for this review.
Oh boy. I might have done twenty Yoga lessons in my life, most of them while pregnant. But ever since I raced Ironman Lake Placid last July my back has never been the same. Part of it is a need to change my bike fit, but another part is related to back strength.
If you are a Yogi, and especially an Instagram yogi, you might have seen the Dharma Yoga Wheel around as it has made its way into the yoga scene. I am not a yogi nor do I follow any yoga accounts so I had never heard of it when I was approached for this review. However, after some brief internet research I realized that the Dharma Yoga Wheel helps you “open” your chest and back. Yet, I didn’t really understand “open.” I open a door, or a jar. I don’t open my chest.
Let me tell you, now I do! Athletes have started to use it more and more and I understand why. So if you, like me, have a negligible to non existent yoga practice don’t let the name fool you. Athletes can benefit just as much from this trendy new tool.
My best way to describe the Dharma Yoga Wheel is a foam roller and a stretcher at the same time. As you roll on the Wheel, you definitely get that torture pressure feeling especially if you have anything stiff. But once you stop “rolling” and just drop your arms or legs to relax …. Oh wow, that’s when the magic happens. A foam roller could never do that!
So, for example, my problem is the lower back. When I got into a position to stretch it and just laid there, I felt this incredible opening of not just my back but also my abs. My whole lower body felt as if it was drooping over the wheel and trying to reach the floor in the most delicious stretch.
Now, getting to that position was neither easy nor graceful. But it’s not how you look that counts, it’s what you feel.
It took me a couple of tries to even figure out what I was supposed to do. And if I would have one complaint is that the website could be a little friendlier to non yogis like me and a step by step of how to get to the stretches would be very helpful. After some digging I found these three tutorials where I finally understood what I had to do (check here, here and here.)
Armed with information and the video guidance, I still worried I would make my back worst by trying to do poses beyond my ability, so I kept things very simple and short until I had some practice. I wasn’t able to do this for a few days ….. but each time I was able to stretch my legs a little further until I got it.
And the more I did it, the better my back felt, and it became a little addicting! Oh, boys are watching to TV? Let me stretch my back. Oh, waiting for my sister to “call me right back?” Let me stretch my back. Oh, time to procrastinate on that deadline? … you get the picture.
Also, the more I did it, the easier it was to get in and out of stretches and to make up my own. If I moved my feet one way or another, a different muscle would stretch and so I would just stay there never knowing a muscle even existed in that spot.
From a triathlete point of view, the Dharma Yoga Wheel gives me more bang for the buck (because it is a bit on the pricey side). It is a foam roller, flexibility/stretching accessory and you can even use it for core and strength exercises much like you would use a stability ball. However, you won’t be seeing me doing any of THAT on Instagram! But don’t worry, you can get plenty of ideas from the Dharma Yoga Wheel pages on Instagram and Facebook.
Why do I only post glowing reviews? Because if I try a product and don’t like it, I won’t tell you about it! But if it is here, it’s TriathlonMami approved!