For beginner and seasoned yogis alike, arm balances can seem unattainable. You want to flip the bird to the chick next to you who is rocking her crow pose like no biggie. And then there's that guy who has the forearms of Popeye and can balance his entire body on one arm. Showoff.
And you have every right to be a tad intimidated, not only do arm balances require lots of core strength, balance, and concentration, but they can also be downright scary. Topping and landing on your noggin is not everyone's cup of tea. But don't write them out of your practice just yet! Remember, it's called a yoga "practice" for a reason. Just know that like with many aspects of yoga, the ability to nail arm balances will come with time, patience, and lots of practice.
Here are a few things that you can start doing today that will eventually lead you to adding arm balances into your own practice.
build your foundation
Many of the foundational postures that you learn when you first start practicing yoga — Chaturanga, Mountain Pose, Downward Dog, etc. — will help you develop the arm strength, core stamina and balance that you'll need for arm balances. Pay particular attention to your alignment when practicing these postures, as it will help train your body to achieve correct alignment when you advance into arm balances.
engage your core
You'll need plenty of core strength and control for balances and inversions. Remember to always pull your belly button to your spine, helping to engage your core.
go for crow
Crow Pose is an excellent posture to prepare you for more advanced arm balances. Focus on engaging your biceps and on grounding down through the palms and pads of your hands. Also, remember to keep your gaze forward to help with balance.
talk with your instructor
Let your teacher know when you're ready to go for advanced arm balances! The can give you tips and encouragement.