The Key to arm Balances

Learn the secret to balancing on your hands

 

The Secret is Simple

Finding ease in arm balances can seem like a mystery, and it can be frustrating to figure them out while struggling to breath in positions that feel constricting. The secret to arm balances is simple, but it is not always easy to put into action. Picture a balance scale – the old fashion kind – when both sides are even the scale is “balanced”. There is no difference between a balance scale and your body, but its visually harder to understand. The center of the scale is where your hand meets your wrists.

Lets think about crow pose for a moment, you will see in the picture to the right (or below if you’re on mobile or a tablet)with a red line to show you where the shaft of a balance scale would be. I call the hips and legs the “back side” of the pose, and the heart and head the “front side”. In order for the back and front side to be equal we must lean forward quite a bit. This presents a bit of fear for many yogis, and for a good reason! You could easily lean too far, too fast. This is why its important to build strength in your fingers and wrists. the primary muscles that stop the body from leaning too far are the flexors of the wrists and fingers. I call these muscles “The Breaks” and much like driving any vehicle, you will not feel safe without them! For this reason alone its super important to strengthen the breaks so that you build a trust in yourself, and as your trust builds you will be willing to lean forward more and more into the strength of your wrists.  In my Handstand Training video I provide some of my top exercises for “the breaks”

When most people first try to lean froward they actually tend to sink, softening the elbow joints and melting the shoulder blades toward each other. This will make the posture heavy and will actually make it harder to balance. To be sure you aren’t doing this film yourself, or better yet find a teacher, or a friend to support you with visual coaching.

 

Step 1 - All 4's with a Block

First work with a block behind the forearm on all fours. To be clear this deep extension of the wrist, so be mindful, if you feel that your muscles are straining back the block up an inch. The idea here is to grip the ground with your fingers which will activate the flexor muscles. Because the hand is in extension, the flexor muscles are elongated significantly, so gripping the ground could prove to be challenging. 

Step 2: Chaturanga with a block

The next step is to work on lowering from plant to chaturanga with the block directly behind the forearm. I recommend only going down a few inches and trying to hold. You will notice in my chaturanga and crow pose my elbows are only slightly bent. This will make it easier to stay lifted and light. Same is true for the fingers, keep gripping the ground! To Strengthen your wrist, I highly recommend Handstand Training

Step 3: Crow Pose

Crow pose is significantly more challenging so if this is new for you be sure to work with a teacher first, and a landing cushion would be an intelligent choice if you ask me. Apply the same action but go slower. Grip the ground and apply the breaks, then lean into that resistance. If you are more proficient in arm balances, you can try this in a posture like Ekapada Koundenyasana 2  or flying pigeon. 

Avoiding Wrist Pain

Wrist pain is common when people first start their yoga practice or arm balance practice. That doesn’t mean its a good thing, but it probably means the muscles that surround the joint are not strong and probably not balanced. The wrists are not a muscle you can simply work realy hard a few times and see positive results. More likely you will strain the muscles if you go that route. Instead spend small amounts of time practicing these exercises but do them often. This is how I training my own wrists and have had much success with feeling good over the course of 12 plus years of practicing handstands and arm balances. 

Thank you for reading and watching! if you have questions, comments or requests please share them here!

-Matt

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Handstand Strength Training

learn the techniques that make Handstand fun, easy and accessible! This collection of the top 12 most effective exercises will make you rethink how you approach handstand and what is possible, so you can finally build the proper strength and awareness it takes to hold a handstand.

Continue Learning

find your seat

Find Your Seat Yoga For Meditation Posture Find Your Seat While the deep benefits of seated meditation are known to and have been experienced by many, there are people the world over who find the practice to be inaccessible for the simple reason that they can't find...

read more

4 Exercises For The Ankles and Feet

Move better, feel better Strengthening our Foundation Walking on the streets of some of my favorite European cities, I took note of how tired the muscles of my feet and lower legs were. Although I consider myself to be a rather in shape human being, during the winter...

read more

Avoid Hamstring Tendonitis “Yoga Butt”

A Different Approach to StretchingStretching the hamstrings provides many benefits - including my personal favorite, low back relief! In the pursuit of flexibility, many of us accidentally go too far in our practice. It can be challenging to gauge where our limits...

read more

Pigeon Without Knee Pain

Why STretching your hips might cause knee pain Pigeon Pose is one of the most widely beloved postures in the yoga practice across a multitude of styles. This is for good reason. However, the issue I see most often with this posture is that it comes with little...

read more

Chaturanga Alignment Part 2

Integrating Shoulder ActionsIntegrating the 3 Necessary Shoulder Actions into your practice can be complicated, so to help you I have come up with 3 Steps to Master your Chaturanga. If you haven't yet watched Chaturanga Alignment: 3 Necessary Shoulder Actions  then it...

read more

Chaturanga Alignment Part 1

Why Get Stronger? Chaturanga is one of the most repeated poses in the modern yoga practice, and it happens to be one of the most challenging on the shoulders. It is highly beneficial to take a look at the mechanics of the posture. I have been studying this posture for...

read more

Product Recommendations

Handstand Training

Learn the techniques that make Handstand fun, easy and accessible! This collection of the top 12 most effective exercises will make you rethink how you approach handstand and what is possible.

View Details

Hips Workshop

In this workshop you will practice specific techniques to open your hips, finding greater rang of motion and freedom. Each action in the body is carefully layered and clearly articulated to provide you with success.

View Details

BlissFlow Masterclass

Enjoy a delightful one hour flow set to the sweet sounds of Kevin Paris playing along. This flow is designed to leave you feeling good for an everyday style practice. If you love live music and yoga this is for you!

View Details

Elements of Mastery

For the serious practitioners and yoga instructors, this online resource provides you with tons of workshops, demonstrations, reading material and worksheets to take you to the next level.

View Details

 

Newsletter

When You Subscribe You Will Instantly Get Access To

  • The Art of Adjustments Video Part 1
  • Discover the Joy of Back Bending Podcast
  • 1 Educational video per week for 12 weeks!

Get in Contact

13 + 14 =

Get the Art Of Adjustments Free!

Plus you will get 12 weeks of FREE videos to build your practice

1. Art Of Adjustments 

2. 12 Weeks of Free Videos

3. Detox Flow

Art of Adjustments

Thank you! check your email for your free training!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This!

Hey. thank you for reading. If this is helpful please share it!

Shares