HOW TO NAIL YOUR ARM BALANCES
I’ve had a personal goal of nailing my handstand. I’ve practiced yoga for over twenty years. I’ve mastered headstand, forearm balance and crow poses; but handstand is still challenging for me. I have to practice every day and work on core strength as well as shoulder, arm and leg strength (yes our legs need to work when we balance on our hands!).
No matter what arm balance you are working on, try these tips to help you learn to stand on your hands. I think it is such an empowering feeling when you can support yourself with your own arms.
Practice Chaturanga & Plank
Chaaturanga and plank are two great postures that help us build arm and core strength. You can practice plank in to chaturanga, lower all the way to the floor, engage your core then try and push back to chaturanga and finally back up to plank. Focus on drawing your shoulders down away from your ears and turning on your lat muscles.
Engage Your Core
Your core is truly what keeps your center of gravity in any posture. One of my favorite core exercises for arm balances, is dolphin. Lace your hands and come in to a forearm plank posture, lift your hips up and back in to a forearm dog. Repeat going forward and back fifteen to twenty reps. Practice this a few times a day to build up upper body and core strength. I also love putting on socks and doing foot slides on my hardwood floor tucking each leg up in to my arms one or both at the same time. Boat pose is also a great ab exercise. Try moving from boat to canoe and back up ten to fifteen times.
Warm Up Your Wrists
Warm up your hands and wrists. We often overlook warming up our hands and wrists before standing on them. Come to all fours and press your palms in to the floor, now try only lifting the heels of your hands. Try ten reps with hands forward, then ten reps with hands facing each other and facing away from each other.
Don’t Forget Your Glutes
I have realized it’s so important to turn on the lower body as well once upside down. Sometimes we go up and let our legs just hang out. We have to keep them energized and turned on in order to balance; and especially if we want to start doing fancy press up type inversions. I am so close to my puppy press handstand! Try some donkey kicks in all fours and practice standing split on a regular basis.
Be Patient, Be Dedicated
It doesn’t happen overnight and it won’t happen if you get frustrated or lose focus. Stay consistent in your practice and don’t forget to have fun! Daily dedicated practice will help you nail your arm balances and teach you so much about yourself along the way. You CAN hold yourself up and support yourself in everything you do.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!