Chakrasana (Sanskrit: चक्रासन IAST: Chakrāsana, Wheel Pose) or Urdhva Dhanurasana (Sanskrit: ऊर्ध्वधनुरासन; IAST: Ūrdhvadhanurāsana, Upward-Facing Bow Pose) is an asana in yoga as exercise. It is a backbend and is the first pose of the finishing sequence in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. It gives great flexibility to the spine. In acrobatics and gymnastics this body position is called a bridge.
Etymology and origins
The name Urdhva Dhanurasana comes from the Sanskrit Urdhva ऊर्ध्व, upwards, and Dhanura धनु, a bow (for shooting arrows). The name Chakrasana comes from the Sanskrit words चक्र Chakra, "wheel", and आसन Asana, "posture" or "seat".
In the general form of the asana, the practitioner has hands and feet on the floor, and the abdomen arches up toward the sky. It may be entered from a supine position or through a less rigorous supine backbend, such as Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose). Some advanced practitioners can move into Wheel Pose by "dropping back" from Tadasana (Mountain Pose), or by standing with the back to a wall, reaching arms overhead and walking hands down the wall toward the floor. Advanced practitioners may also follow wheel with any of its variations (listed below), or with other backbends, such as Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana, or by pushing back up to stand in Tadasana 
The stretching in Chakrasana helps to tone and strengthen muscles in the back and calves, and is also said to relieve tension and stress in people who sit for long times in front of a desk or computer.
Many variations of the pose are possible, including:
- Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana (One-Legged Upward Bow): one leg is lifted straight up into the air.
- Eka Hasta Urdhva Dhanurasana (One-Armed Upward bow): one arm is raised off the ground and placed on the thigh or knee.
- Camatkarasana has one arm lifted and the opposite leg straightened.
- Chakra Bandhasana has the forearms on the floor and the hands grasping the heels.
On its 40th anniversary, Yoga Journal recalled seven ways it had covered Urdhva Dhanurasana, including a cover of Iyengar Yoga teacher Rama Jyoti Vernon doing the pose in its first year, 1975 and Angela Farmer doing the one-legged variant in 1982.
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One poetic translation of Camatkarasana means "the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart."CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Iyengar 1979, p. 379.
- EichenSeher, Tasha (9 July 2015). "1 Pose, 40 Years: Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)". Yoga Journal.
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