Mandalasana (Mandala Pose, or Wheel Pose) registers as 27* on BKS Iyengar’s 60* scale of difficulty.
In Mandalasana, your head and forearms remain in Salamba Sirsasana I position. From there you walk your feet in a full clockwise circle around your body, then take a counter-clockwise circle back to your starting position. This movement requires shoulder opening and strengthening to keep your arms and head grounded in Salamba Sirsasana I, deep side stretching as you walk away from your starting point, and faith and gusto as you flip your torso face up/face down several times.
For now, I don’t practice this pose alone – only in the safety of the advanced class I attend each week, and with careful assists and a lot of encouragement! If Salamba Sirsasana I and Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana are in your practice and you’d like to give Mandalasana a shot, I highly recommend enlisting the assistance of a friend and two mats (to prevent your feet from slipping).
Notice how much love and care I had from Therese Chavez as she assisted me through the pose! And hear the encouragement of my fellow yogis. And thank John Madden for even shooting the video in the first place! This is the kind of yoga that builds community and makes us stronger – as individuals and as practitioners.
Many, many thanks to my kula for supporting me as I made my way through. Thoughtful assists and heartfelt encouragement are powerful keys in a practice – especially for unlocking these advanced poses! When you’re faced with uncertainty in a pose, the support of your fellow yogis can help you come full circle, straight into your highest potential.
When has a careful assist opened you to a new experience within a pose? What do you love most about your kula?