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On Arm Balance

Usually, when students struggle with arm balances, they would say, “I need some more upper body strength.”

While that might be true, that’s not the whole story.

Many students have a lot of upper body strength, but if their lower body is tight, they will struggle with arm balance. 🙁

In that case, for these students, the approach to arm balances should emphasize opening the lower body and relaxation.

But if you are the ones who are pretty open in poses like forward bends and pigeon poses (hamstrings and external rotators – revisit last week’s post on Hip Opening!) and still struggle with your arm balances, then the focus can be directed to build arm, upper body, and abdominal strength.

I think we have also mistaken that arm balances should be INTENSE and we need to tighten up EVERYTHING and to PUSH PUSH PUSH to get there.

The reality is with skillful actions and consistent practice, we don’t have to and don’t want to have to work so hard. 🤗

Instead, we want to stay STEADY and RELAXED in the pose without overexerting.

Have a playful and curious attitude. 👌

Don’t give up too quickly because it’s challenging.

Don’t rush.

Find the balance between effort and relaxation. 😊

It’s very important to prepare for arm balances (since they cannot be held for a very long time) by strengthening, aligning, and opening the body before trying them.

Next is the technique. ✨

IMPORTANT FACT: Arm balances are indeed challenging, but not because of a lack of flexibility or strength, but because of a LACK OF TECHNIQUES.

In Alignment 1 classes,

We learn the underlying alignment and preparations required in getting into the arm balances.

Building the skills and techniques to get into the poses.

Understanding the actions required in different arm balance categories.

In Alignment 2,

We will work on progression, integration, and transitions, moving between different arm balances and combining arm balances with other genres like inversions.

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