Bean Bag Chair Yoga – Supported Wheel and Shoulderstand

I just moved into my current home this past summer. My boys were away at camp during the move. As soon as they walked into the new living room, the first thing they said was, “Awesome! We need bean bag chairs!”

They had never mentioned them before but over the next few months, kept commenting about how great it would be to have bean bag chairs. Santa was listening and two bean bag chairs arrived under the tree for Christmas morning – much to my boys’ delight! (I am still surprised at how excited they were … even slept in the chairs one night!)

I’m pretty sure the impetus for the original exclamation was related to gaming and not yoga. However, I have discovered that bean bag chairs also make great yoga props.

Have a look at the video for some ideas on using a bean bag chair for wheel and shoulderstand. If you have one (or can sneak one away from your little gamer) give it a try and let me know if you come up with any other ideas for bean bag chair yoga!

Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)


Wheel Pose (also called Upward Bow) is a very challenging posture because it requires a large range of motion in the shoulders, strength in the upper body and core, and a great deal of flexibility in the spine. If wheel is currently a bit out of reach, you can still get many of the benefits by practicing a gentler, supported version.

Benefits of Supported Wheel

  • Opens the chest tissues and lungs
  • Stretches the hip flexors and abdomen
  • Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands
  • Increases energy and may help alleviate depression

Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)

Shoulderstand - Salamba Sarvangasana

Shoulderstand is said to be the Queen of yoga poses. Inversions are very powerful because we are so affected by the impact of gravity (sagging, strain on the organs and internal systems – in particular the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems). By turning our bodies upside down, we can combat some of these effects. Inversions are also a great way to change our perspective on things. Inversions, however (shoulderstand and headstand in particular)  can be uncomfortable on the neck and may compress the cervical vertabrae depending upon your strength and alignment. Supported versions of these postures can alleviate the risks still provide the same benefits.

Benefits of Supported Shoulderstand

  • Calming. May help relieve stress and depression
  • Reduces fatigue, can alleviate insomnia
  • Helps with digestion
  • Change in perspective – sheds new light on old patterns
  • Supports the circulatory system (encourages venous return)
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system strengthening the immune system
  • Helps with digestion


Don’t expect to get out of the bean bag chair gracefully 😉 Just go with it!

3 thoughts on “Bean Bag Chair Yoga – Supported Wheel and Shoulderstand”

  1. Dear Charlotte, I chanced upon your site when I was looking for a “wheel pose” image. I had just finished writing the last blog-post for a storytelling residency, and in the writing, my recent first [supported] wheel pose lent a heartfelt image to that elusive concept, success. I thought that describing the wheel pose would make the post too long and wordy, but … if I could compliment the prose with an image … So I went on a search. I was hoping for something that looked less like “human anatomy” and more like “a spirited stroke of the brush.” I found yours and loved it. May I post it along with my text? I could credit the source, of course. It would appear first on the FB page of the program that funded my residency (Art Place), then on my FB page (Marta Bruno Singh). At your request, I’d be happy to send you a copy of the blog-text, in case you’d like to read the words that are calling for your image. Thank you very much for considering my request. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  2. charlotte bradley

    For sure Marta! Not a problem at all. And thank you for the kind words 🙂 And I would most definitely love to read your post!


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