Arm balances are one of the most sought after yoga poses. Just a quick search for "instagram yoga pose", inversions and arm balances will be the most returned results. The most popular one, being the handstand. Most yogis get attracted to yoga and feel compelled to learn handstand, sometimes a little bit too soon.
Arm Balancing Poses
Aside from Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), here are some of the popular arm balancing posts:
- Chaturanga Dandasana (4 limb staff pose)
- Lolasana (Pendant pose)
- Tolasana (Scale pose)
- Bakasana / Eka Pada Bakasana (Crane pose)
- Kakasana (Crow pose)
- Eka Pada Koundinyasana I & II
- Astavakrasana (8 angle pose)
- Titibhasana (Firefly pose)
- Bhujapidasana (Shoulder squeezing pose)
- Eka Hasta Bhujasana (Elephant Trunk pose)
- Mayurasana (Peacock pose)
- Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm stand)
- Maksikanagasana (Grasshopper pose)
How to Fly?
Gymnasts and Yogis almost operate similarly with the emphasis of a strong core for almost every other pose. A strong, engaged core is necessary to prevent dumping the weight on the wrist. I strongly recommend working on your core muscles before attempting to practice arm balances. This is what I'd tell my younger self if I had a chance!
The back muscles also play a role in each arm balance, along with the shoulders. Remember that muscles hold the bones and if the correct muscles aren't strong enough for the task required of them, the weight will simply dump onto the joints which will cause injury in the long run.
Sometimes, the quads and hamstrings play a role too, depending on the arm balance routine performed. Those that require leg extension would demand warm and open hamstrings, while those that are done with folded legs would require strength in the hip flexors and flexibility in the glute muscles.
The imbalance in the engagement of these muscles would result in dumping of weight in the arms and wrists, hence wrist pain is almost the most common injury in yoga.
Let's Give our Wrists Some Love
Health wrists don't just mean stretching them. The right form of compression also aids in regeneration of the nerves and muscles that support the wrist.
In our modern day jobs, we are always using our hands on the keyboard, on the mouse and on movements involving repetitive tasks. This results in shortening of the nerves that is usually causing pain when we stretch them. When you try to do an arm balance with tight nerves, it's like putting weight on knotted wires! You'll get a sensation of being electrocuted.
Compression on the other hand, will ensure that the nerves are replenished with fresh blood flow. I have been a victim of wrist pain over and over until I have learned how to solve my own problems by paying attention of core strength, stretches and compressions.
In this video, I show some ways of stretching and compressing for wrist health. Make sure you always stretch and compress. When making a fist, put more pressure on the pinky and ring finger side because this is the side of the hand to the arm that grows weaker because we tend to favor the use of the pointing finger and the thumb to do most tasks.
And Finally Fly!
Try this short prep and wrist care for Crow Pose: