Want to Fly? Here Are 5 Secret Ingredients to Yoga Arm Balances

Allie Flavio
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So you want to fly like a bird? Well, don’t we all? As young children, the idea of flying fascinates us, and even as adults, it’s still bewildering and desirable. The ability to gracefully lift off the ground, soar above the clouds, and then gently land is one that we would all love to have in our back pocket.

Well yogi friends, we can fly! We can float freely just like birds do. We can lift off, soar above, and gently land. It’s called arm balances.
 

As young children, the idea of flying fascinates us, and even as adults, it’s still bewildering and desirable.

 
When first starting to practice yoga, arm balances can “appear” unattainable, out of reach, too difficult, or light years away. Surprisingly, yoga arm balances are actually quite simple once you know the proper technique.

Poses like Crow Pose (Bakasana), One-Legged Crow Pose (Eka Pada Bakasana), Side Crow Pose (Parsva Bakasana), Eight Angle Pose (Astravakasana), and Grasshopper Pose are easily in reach. These postures ALL require the same movements and patterns.
 

 
 

Here Are 5 Secret Ingredients to Yoga Arm Balances:

These ingredients will have you flying in no time! Ka – ka!
 

1. Spread Your Fingertips and Root Down Through Your Hands

Whenever we are trying to balance, the more surface we can connect to the ground, the sturdier and steadier we will be. This is the same principle in yoga. The greater the connection between our hands and the earth, the easier it is to root down and rise up.

Feel each fingertip connecting with the earth, ground down through the heel of your hand, and then lengthen up toward the sky. This can apply to every posture in yoga, not just arm balances.
 

Yoga arm balances are actually quite simple once you know the proper technique.

 
Start to notice where your fingertips are in each posture and what your hands are doing. Are you rolling to the outer edges of your hands? Are you only pressing down through your pointer fingers and thumbs?

Begin to take a mental note of this and then slowly work toward expanding and extending your fingertips and hands. Eventually, this will become a habit that doesn’t require any thought process.
 

2. Create a Shelf With Your Arms

Creating a shelf is one of the most important components to lift off. If the body has nothing to stack on top of, you’ll quickly fall. Imagine your body parts are like Legos. Each piece needs to neatly stack on top of one another, thus creating whatever shape is desired.

This is the same principle with arm balances. The arms should mimic Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Yogic Push-Up) positioning with your elbows tucking in toward your body and your shoulders staying in line with your elbows. Every posture requires this shelf! It’s the building block of yoga arm balances.
 

3. Gaze Forward and Then Gaze Forward More!

For some reason, we love looking straight down. Think about when we walk, run, or step up onto something. Our tendency is to gaze directly down at our feet. We need to break that habit stat!

In order to fly and stay soaring above, it’s absolutely necessary to gaze forward. Now, let’s clarify the word “forward.” Don’t crank your neck so hard that a muscle spasm occurs or causes any type of discomfort. But do find a soft gaze out in front of your fingertips (usually about six inches forward). Nothing crazy!

Start to practice this step wholeheartedly. Not just here and there, but every time you come to the mat. Arm balances will soon become a bright light of possibility when your gaze is forward. We want the eyes to direct the body – to be the guide, to be the captain sailing the ship.
 

4. Suck Your Belly Up and In

This is a literal statement. Literally suck your belly up toward your ribs, and in toward your spine.

This creates an activation of your core, your power center – the space from where we should always move. This is how it should feel in almost every yoga posture, unless it’s a Restorative Yoga pose.

Just like the fingertips, hands, and gaze – start to tap into the core of your body. Begin to really use its power on each exhale and refocus on each inhale. When your core is engaged and aware, your body is able to balance and relax. This allows us to fly while remaining calm and balanced.
 

 
 

5. Breathe

We saved the best for last: the breath. You might be thinking this is the easiest step or this is the unnecessary step. Wrong! The breath is the most important component of any asana. It’s literally what moves us from pose to pose and breathes life into the posture!

When you practice yoga arm balances, take deep inhalations and exhalations through your nose. In order to sustain the pose and keep soaring, the body needs to keep working. In order for the body to work and keep it all together, it needs energy and sustenance. That’s where the breath comes into play.

Start to treat your breath as a vital energy source that provides the key to a fruitful life. Once you start to believe this and wholeheartedly practice it, you’ll realize it’s the truth. The breath is our life. Period. End of story.
 
 

The Takeaway On Yoga Arm Balances

Okay yogis of the world, it’s time to leave the nest and fly. It’s time to mold these five secret ingredients together and integrate them into your yoga practice.

Start slowly and with no expectations. Don’t chase yoga shapes or force the body into postures.

Stay very present in each yoga practice and yoga pose. Do all of this and you too will be soaring high. Go take flight!
 
Here are some pointers on arm balances. Pin these on your Pinterest boards so you can reference them later:
 
armbalance_crow
 
armbalance_sidecrow1
 
armbalance_oneleggedcrow
 
armbalance_grasshopper
 
armbalance_flyingpigeon

 

Want to learn handstands? Take the 7-class, Learning to Handstand online course

Learning-to-Handstand-bundle
 

This article has been read 200K+ times. Wowzers!

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Allie Flavio

Allie is the soul behind TheJourneyJunkie.com and a yoga girl at heart. When Allie’s not blogging about yoga/travel advice or doing/teaching yoga, you can find her relaxing by the beach in sunny St. Petersburg, FL. A born and raised Florida girl, Allie is an outdoor junkie who loves the ocean, fresh air, and a delicious fish sandwich! To learn more about her yoga and travel adventures, check out her blog The Journey Junkie.

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