Kamarchakrasan - The Wheel posture is great for gaining flexibility in the spine. It is also known as the chakra asan because the whole abdomen is stretched, which activates all the major chakras in the center of the body. The chakras, when activated, balance the endocrine system. This in turn stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, the thyroid to balance temperature, the adrenals to deal with stress, and improves the reproductive organs.
When the endocrine system is not in balance we can experience many ailments from diabetes to infertility. Not only that, the abdomen is a very significant area of our body as it houses all the organs needed for bodily functions. When the abdomen is stiff and unused the body becomes sluggish. As a result we may experience constipation, back pain, and excess fat around the waist.
The spine is important to our overall health. All muscles and nerves branch out of the spine, and their ability to function is greatly affected by our posture, among other things. By standing tall we hold our body in correct alignment, lengthen the spine, and create space in the abdomen. This allows the body to stay flexible while toning and strengthening the liver, spleen, lungs, bladder, bowels, kidneys and colon.
Practicing this asan may also be beneficial for releasing the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the longest in the body, and can sometimes become trapped in the lower back/pelvis area. Through the deep stretch this asan demands it is possible to release the trapped nerve, and associated pain.
How to practice Kamarchakrasan
Sit on the floor with the legs straight out in front of you.
Sit straight ensuring your spine is upright and you and not slumped.
Move around until you are sitting on the sitting bones.
Open the legs as wide as comfortable.
Pull up from the waist and turn your body to the left side and reach towards the foot with your right hand.
Take the left hand behind the back.
Try to touch the toes and bring the forehead as close to the knee as possible.
Dont try to force the posture, only go as far as you are able.
If you can only reach the knees or calves stay with that. By practicing you will eventually reach the toes.
Hold the toes, calf or knee for a full long deep breath.
Move across the body to the right leg reaching with the left hand, and hold the position for a long deep breath.
Circle from one foot to the next keeping your body low, and as flat as possible with each turn.
Repeat the whole process 10 times.
This exercise, although simple, is very effective. I recommend practicing this regularly to reduce excess fat around the waist and hips, while regulating the endocrine system, and bringing harmony to your health.