4

If you’re like me, you see pictures like the ones above and have one of two reactions. The first is, “Oh my god, I wish I could do that!” And the second one is, “..yeah, there’s no way I can do that.” Whatever reaction you may have, I’m here to tell you that you CAN do that. Arm balances are the most difficult of yoga poses, but are more than possible for anyone to do. The four keys to being able to do arm balances are strength, flexibility, mental discipline and practice. Let’s go over all of these points individually.

Strength: You wanna start with the basics here. Plank pose, Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Chaturanga Dandasana, and Boat Pose (Navasana). Arm balances require two kinds of strength, upper body/arm strength, and core strength. All of these poses will help you build that strength up. Start with regular practice of Plank and Downward Facing Dog. These poses put weight on the arms and shoulders, and build up isometric strength your pectoral muscles (chest), deltoids (cap of your shoulder) and triceps (back of your upper arm). When you’re feeling like you’ve built some strength and have been practicing these poses enough, it’s time to move onto some Chatarungas and Vinyasa flows. Push-ups can also help you with this process of building strength. For abdominal and core strength, try Boat pose.

Flexibility: Flexibility is a huge factor in any yoga practice, and regular practice of yoga will help you build up your flexibility. Basic poses like Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) and (Mountain Pose) can help with your flexibility. Any forward folds and twists will help you achieve the flexibility needed to get safely into these complicated arm balances.

Mental Discipline: This is one of the biggest parts of arm balances and inversions. So may of us are afraid of falling. And you know what? You might fall. You probably will on your first few tries. But you have to keep going. You have to have the mental strength and courage to deal with failure, and keep trying. Going upside down is something that scares a lot of people, but mind over matter comes into play here. Again, what’s the worse that could happen? You’ll fall? True strength comes from falling, but getting up and trying again.

Practice: The key to being good at anything and everything is practice. Daily practice of yoga will help with your health - mentally and physically. Practicing arm balances daily will help you perfect them until you can get up and into them without a second thought.

Good luck, love and light to you all! Namaste.

(photo sources are unknown, found via google search. please let me know if you know any of these amazing ladies so I can link to their blogs!)

Watch on sarahbethyoga.tumblr.com

Intro to Arm Balances (7 minutes)

Learn everything you need to know before starting an intermediate arm balance practice. 

Incorporating arm balances like Crow Pose, Side Crow, Hurdler’s Pose, Grasshopper and Crane will challenge you and give you strength, flexibility and a deeper sense of balance.These poses also require a good foundation before you even get started: 

Strength: 

Flexibility: 

Yogi Hands: 

Try an arm balance now! 

Prepare yourself for the series! Each week I will upload 1 arm balance and add it to the Intermediate Arm Balance Series playlist :) 

~Sarah Beth Yoga

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7

Sunny Yogi’s Guide to Crow Pose ♥ 

Arm balances are a great way to find balance and build arm muscles. They are also great for practicing for inversions :) Here is my how to guide on how to do crow pose.  

I would like to mention, that I’m not a yoga teacher and these steps are based off of my experience. 

Step One: Start off Standing 

Root your feet to the ground.  It’s always good to start off with a strong foundation.  

Step Two: Buddha Squat 

From standing, drop down into a buddha squat.  Root your feet down, make sure your back is straight and your chest is lifted.  In this pose you can also use your elbows to push against your thighs to create a hip opener stretch. 

Step Three: Place hands on the ground, and lean forward. 

While in buddha squat set your hands on the floor and then lean forward pressing your knees gently on your upper arm. Make sure your eyes are looking forward- do not collapse your head. 

Step Four: Bend arms slightly. Lean forward a little and press your knees into your arms.  

Bend your arms slightly and lean forward, pressing your knees into your arms.  For beginners maybe try to stay in this pose for awhile, engaging your core and finding your balance.  

I should probably mention that for some people, your arms might hurt if your knees are pressing into your skin.  Wear longer pants! 

Step Five: Raise one leg up. Look forward, keeps eyes looking ahead, and bend your arms some more. 

This step is a good step to practice before you get into the full arm balance.  Raise one leg up and engage your core.  Alternate your legs back and forth. Make sure you can do this step before continuing on :) 

Make sure your head is not collapsed; head up and eyes looking ahead.

Step Six: Raise both legs up. Engage that core! 

Taking a deep breath, raise your other leg up! Make sure your core is engaged.  KEEP YOUR HEAD RAISED AND YOUR EYES FIXED FORWARD. 

Yay, you are now doing crow pose :)  

Additional tips: 

  • Wear longer pants if your knees hurt the skin on your arms. 
  • Put a pillow in front of you if you are afraid of falling flat on your face (something I have done many times!). 
  • Try each step out slowly.  Crow pose is not an easy pose. 
  • Arm and ab exercises can help you improve this pose better. 

Have fun, and be safe when practicing this pose!  Take a picture of your progress and tag me in it! I’d love to see all of your guy’s crow. 

Namaste! 

Watch on sarahbethyoga.tumblr.com

Hardcore Yoga: Plank Practice (4.5 minutes) 

This plank practice is complete with modifications to help you build a strong core and improve the strength of your stabilizing muscles. 

Practicing this regularly will prepare you for holding more advanced poses such as grasshopper, 8 limbs, side crow, crow pose, titbasana, etc. 

Stay tuned and practice often for future videos featuring these specific poses in the Intermediate Arm Balance series to come out this summer! 

~Sarah Beth Yoga

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TGIF and there’s a 3 day weekend on the horizon. Come spend it doing yoga with me at Sangha Yoga Shala at the times listed below:
Friday - 2pm
Saturday - 11am
Sunday - 5pm
Monday - 11:30am
Hope to see you there!

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