Wheel Pose (Urdvha Dhanurasana) has always been my nemesis pose and I find it even more so when doing it during the Ashtanga classes.
In the Ashtanga class, the Wheel pose is practiced after we have done the last pose we have been given. We have to do three rounds of the pose; lifting up and holding in the pose for five breaths for each round.
I am able to lift up and hold in the pose for the 1st two rounds but would need to come down after one or two breaths for the third round. This is especially so when I have to walk my hands closer to my shoulders after each round before lifting up again and holding in the pose for the five breaths.
As yoga teaches us to be aware of our body, I would feel either compression in my lower back or pain in my knees when I lift up into the pose. This has resulted in me dreading to do the pose as I would already anticipate what my body would be feeling when I lift up into the pose.
Today, I decided to place my awareness in keeping my shoulders, elbow, wrists and hands in alignment when I lift up in the pose in each round after watching the video below by Kino MacGregor. I found that in placing my awareness onto my shoulders alignment each time I lift up to the pose, I did not feel any pain in my lower back and I could hold the pose for the five breaths.
Awareness of our body comes from using it, moving it, feeling it and paying attention to it.