How I learnt to do Yoga Arm Balances?

 

How I learnt to do Yoga arm balances

My yoga journey started in the month of January 2015. I was in the middle of an inconsistent workout plan. I wasn’t strong, I could barely run and I struggled to keep myself motivated every evening after a long day at work. But I tried, I tried hard to be fit and change my lifestyle.

I don’t remember what triggered me to move towards yoga but within few weeks of my first Suryanamaskar I found myself spending 60 to 90 minutes every evening practicing and learning new yoga asanas in the comforts of my apartment. My source of knowledge were articles on the internet and YouTube videos by Kino Yoga, Sarah Beth Yoga and Yoga by Candance.Β  I was very careful and didn’t try to push myself too hard for the fear of injuring myself.

The journey to balancing started with very basic beginner poses like the tree pose and the tilting tree pose. And even then it took me few weeks to learn to stay still in a Vkrasana for a couple of breaths.

I spent the first few months working on my flexibility and core strength. Planks used to make me cry. I would fall with every side plank (Vasisthasana) I tried to do. And Chaturanga Dandasana (low plank) was an impossibility. My arms didn’t have enough strength to hold the weight of my body. The only thing that helped me was Persistence. I kept trying. Slowly I was able to transition from Downward-dog to Chaturanga Dandasana to cobra. I practiced different Hatha Yoga poses and sequences – starting with Suryanamaskar, moving on to standing leg stretches, seated stretches, backbends and in the end, inversion.

And then in about 5 months time I held my first ever proper Bakasana. Bakasana isn’t just about arm strength, it requires core strength and a correct gaze. I was a slow learner but I learnt.

yoga crow pose

I started practicing more Bakasanas and baby bakasana to increase my core strength. I had also started learning inversions, and tripod-stand was one of the first inversions I learnt.

Learning Handstands

My most awesome magical moment was when I did my first handstand in early 2016.Β It took a long time for me to get there, but I felt a great sense of achievement. I have never been involved in any sports that required strength or balancing. Handstand is something that I thought would never be possible by someone like me. Most days, at the end of my practice, I would jump near the wall at least 50 times, with hope that maybe my legs will lift and hit the wall. It continued for over 7-8 months before I could finally hold a handstand. As I said, the key is persistence.

I fell – A LOT. Thankfully, my previous house had carpet flooring, so no damages were done, except for a few broken clothes-line and some chairs too πŸ™‚

I still can’t hold a handstand without wall support, but I am learning.

Β Yoga hollowback handstand variation

handstand quote

After that I started exploring other arm balances like Side crow and Fallen Angel. Fallen Angel looks totally weird but it is way easier than some other arm balances. I learnt this pose from a Youtube Video by Sarabethyoga – link

fallen angle pose

Similarly, I loved the tips that Sarah shared on her channel for Side crow. I felt side crow is slightly easier than Bakasana, if you know where to place your knees.

Yoga side crow - arm balance yoga

You would be surprised how differently each side of the body responds. Strangely, I am very awkward on my right side, even though I am a right handed person. I have to put safety cushions around me whenever I repeat the pose on the right side.

3 Tips for Arm balances

Be Patient – This is going to be a long journey. And if like me, you are doing it all alone, then patience is a necessity. Our body can do amazing things, things that will leave you surprised. Love it, let it grow, don’t let ego get hold of it.

Strengthen your Core – You would need a strong core to lift and maintain balance. Plank poses and Navasana (boat pose) help in increasing the abdominal muscle strength.

Flexibility – If you are able to hold a plank position well enough, then along with core strength, you would also need flexibility to do arm balances. Asanas like Astavakrasana (8 Angle pose), even Bakasana, require hip flexibility just to get the knee over the tricep. Low lunge, Lizard pose, Cradling the leg like a baby are great poses to improve hip flexibility –Β link

I really hope this post is helpful to anyone who is on their arm balancing journey. Keep practicing.

Stay strong and humble πŸ™‚

30 thoughts on “How I learnt to do Yoga Arm Balances?

  1. YOU are the most amazing, inspiring, most fantastic person I have ever seen on my fitness journey. I love your point about persistence. And your poses are incredible. I STILL have hope that I can achieve even a fraction of that in the years to come. Lovely post!

  2. Fascinating journey, Raj. I haven’t done arm stands but I can relate to the tips of strengthening your core and flexibility. Also, with changing and meditation, Yoga helps me with stress and calming my nerves.

  3. Wow, Raj! That looks amazing – and I love that you are so honest about it – yes- a lot of hard work for sure! Even more impressive and inspiring to see you Get There!! Yaaaay for you – hats off sweetie:-)

  4. You are amazing Raj! I just love your yoga poses. I have been doing yoga for 3 years now. I am quite flexible but still I have a long way to go. I can do a kakasana but can hold for only a few seconds. I need help with my sirsasana too. Someone just to hold my feet, that’s it. I have a long way to go. I am inspired by you!

  5. Loved reading this. What I find so amazing is that you have done your yoga journey all by yourself by reading articles and seeing videos. Most people usually take classes. Doing it on your own requires immense self motivation and perseverance.

    1. Thank you so much Ruchira. I find the youtube tutorials very helpful and they have so much information if you find the right ones πŸ˜€ I wanted to attend a class but time and distance is a big factor, so I just started on my own πŸ™‚

  6. I am always in awe of you, Raj. I have tried and failed many times at Yoga, and my excuse has always been – I have to do it alone, and I don’t know where to begin.

    Reading this post has inspired me to start again, even if I am going at it alone. But there is so much to do, so much to learn, that I don’t even know where to begin.

    1. Yes, so much to do and so much to learn, but just one step is enough to get the momentum running πŸ˜€ Hope you get back to your routine πŸ˜€

  7. Looking at yourr pics,I always thought you have been doing yoga all your life. I am super duper impressed to know you started on your own and that also a few years back. Hats off to you for your preserverence and will power. I am inspired to begin too; will take tips on the videos you have been following. I sincerely think you should start a yoga blog for beginners – I would be a very regular reader there.

    1. Thank you so much πŸ˜€ I am still learning every day. I like your idea of a new blog. I will definitely think about it πŸ˜€

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