Definition - What does Arm Balance mean?
Arm balance asanas in yoga can be challenging, but also a very rewarding part of any yoga practice. They are beneficial as strength builders, they promote great circulation and demand ultimate concentration of the mind.
Most arm balances place the legs on the arms, shoulders and/or triceps. There are also arm balances where the entire body is inverted (suspended above the head) and all the weight is balanced on the arms or hands.
Yogapedia explains Arm Balance
To get into an arm balance, placement of the hands and arms is very important. The hands or forearms should always rest right beneath the shoulders at the start of the pose. As the pelvis is lifted, the shoulders and arms can move forward to accomplish the lift and adjusted the angle. The legs also play a key role in arm balances, because when used properly, they can help lift the body and take some of the weight off of the arms. If the arm balance involves the legs placed on the arms, pressing into the legs can help the core and assist with lifting the body or pelvis off of the ground.
For inversion arm balances, the core tightens as the legs come off of the ground, and the legs stabilize to achieve the balance. It is helpful to practice these types of arm balances against a wall first until it becomes comfortable and the yogi is strong enough to practice in the middle of the room.
There are dozens of arm balances that vary from beginner to advanced poses, and they all offer a full body workout, targeting the core, arms and legs. The most popular poses include:
- Crow pose
- Scorpion pose
- Eight angle pose
- Forearm stand
- Side crow pose
- Peacock pose
- Dolphin pose
- Firefly pose
- Side plank
Some poses also offer hip-opening and flexibility in the thighs and hamstrings and a major boost in confidence when a new arm balance is mastered. Some of these poses rely heavily on wrist strength so always make sure to seek out modifications if the wrists or elbows are susceptible to injury: wrist wedges can help.