It may not be the first thing you think of for backbends such as wheel, but it is important for making a deep backbend feel amazing! — starting by activating your core and back muscles!
There are many methods, (these photos are just examples) but when we activate the core muscles, the back and booty muscles, our spine is protected and we move into our backbends with stability. And that’s what makes them feel AWESOME.
Core activators: boat, low boat (pictured), plank, kapalabhati, etc — anything that gets the belly muscles lit!
Back body activators: cobra variations (pictured is one of many), locust, plank, etc — anything that fires up the hamstrings, glutes, low back .
Bridge pose (pictured) is fantastic because it can fire up the core and back and act as a great prep for wheel, as well as a resting posture between pressing up to wheel! It opens the hip flexors and strengthens the hamstrings!
TIP: Bring your arms up over head in bridge as if going to wheel, and press the hands into the floor without lifting up to help activate and open the arms for wheel too
I hope this helps! Let me know in the comments what you think about activating the core before wheel!