Arm balances are an essential part of the Yoga practice. It enhances the understanding between the mind and the body, develops one’s sense of composure, confidence, inner strength and they’re fun to do!
Face planting is one of the fears a person who is just beginning with the practice is afraid of. Falling on your face hurts and it hurts your ego even more. There’s a big possibility that you’ll fail to approach a posture when you practice with fear. You are your thoughts. Before diving in to the practice, you need to get into the mindset that nothing is impossible and you will be unstoppable. Mastering arm balances differs from person to person. Some may take months, for some its years. But don’t be discouraged! Believe and be patient with yourself. Enjoy the journey and be thankful for each milestone you achieve along the way.
If you can perform a simple plank, you probably already have the decent amount of arm and core strength needed to perform arm balances such as the crow pose. It is the basic foundation of arm balances. Crow pose strengthens the arms, the shoulders and the core. Once you master and become comfortable with this basic arm balance, you can surely do almost all the arm balances. Do not rush the process; It will leave you anxious and frustrated. Give it your best and results will come one day.
Here are some secrets to master your arm balances:
Develop arm strength and wrist flexibility. Simple bodyweight exercise such as planking can go a long way. It develops not just the arms but mainly the core which is needed to be able to tightly hold your body intact during a crow pose. Your wrist plays an important role in balancing but they are not designed to hold weight. Warm them up in gentle front and back stretches, turning hands inwards and then out and slowly rotate them into circles in their full range of motion. Your strength and wrist flexibility will be developed along the way as you practice. If you feel any pain on your wrists, please consult a doctor.
Identify where to place your weight. Put your weight at your hand’s metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint when performing arm balances instead of placing it at your hand’s heel. It is the knuckles where your fingers and hands are adjoined. This helps maintain a balance point and allows your fingers and the heels of your palms to take control when you fall forward or back away from the balance point.
Lock your core. Engaging your core helps keep the posture from wiggling and falling. It also helps keep some of the weight off of your arms. For example, in bakasana or crow pose, if you put your weight into your arms alone, it’ll put a lot of pressure on your arms. But if you activate the core, lifting your hips up, you weight will be properly aligned with the balance point creating a much easier and more comfortable form.
Internalize the practice. Practicing asanas is not all about the full posture but the little steps, the journey. Every time you practice, every time you get a little deeper into it, and every time you allow yourself to taste a little fear, you learn how to make your way in and around it until fear becomes so familiar that fails to exist. It manifests the same way in our daily lives when we deal with problems, with toxic people and life’s surprises. We become mindful of our thoughts and actions when approaching certain circumstances.
Mastering arm balances or any Yoga poses is not the true purpose of the practice. It is the chance to develop one’s consciousness while learning to unify the body and the mind, to find equanimity and discover one’s inner peace.