Yoga practice involves stretching exercises and balancing poses. If you are an avid yoga fan, you already know this. However, we are here to give you some tips and tricks on arm balances that further enhance the yoga poses you have been doing for years. By the end of this article, you will impress your yoga teacher with arm balance yoga poses that work.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
Before we start arm balancing practice, let’s understand how beneficial yoga is for your body.
It’s not a myth that flexibility gets more challenging as we age. The more we work against tightening our muscles, the better it is for our overall health and well-being. Something as simple as rising from sitting to standing can pose a risk of injury if your flexibility isn’t great.
Frequent yoga practices like the child’s and warriors’ poses strengthen muscles while building flexibility. The slow movement from one pose to another reduces the risk of injury, making yoga great for beginners.
Builds Muscle Strength
Yoga is a perfect addition to your workout routine if you’re interested in toning your body and building strength. Isometric exercises like planks build muscle strength by contracting and holding muscles in place without movement through joints. Many yoga poses work similarly to build strength and help tone muscles. Difficult arm balancing poses help build muscles without weight training. If that sounds amazing, keep reading.
Improves Energy and Respiration
The amount of energy we have depends on many factors. The food we consume, the amount of sleep we get, and how active we are all playing into our energy levels. One of the most important ways we get energy is through the amount of oxygen we breathe. Yoga focuses on breathing by teaching people proper techniques to enhance lung function and deepen their breaths. Expanding our lung capacity creates better respiratory function, allowing more oxygen to infiltrate our system. The result is more energy for everyday life.
One common misconception about yoga poses is that they are easy. Some poses are beginner-level and more effortless than others, but yoga is a challenging exercise program. Certain poses, like the crow pose and peacock pose, are intense and take years of building strength and endurance to perform correctly. Holding poses takes energy, focus, and power leading to severe calorie burn. The longer you hold poses, the more intensity it requires. Don’t underestimate the number of calories burned in yoga.
Regardless of why you decide to perform yoga or any fitness program, weight loss is common when we incorporate exercise with a healthy diet. Yoga practice is no different—people who begin yoga notice changes in their bodies, including muscle tone and weight loss. As you hold a yoga pose, your body begins to burn calories to help you stay stable in that position. Muscle contract and fat burn are a result.
Mental Benefits of Yoga
Exercise is associated with physical improvements, but some of the most beneficial reasons to exercise are stress relief and better mental health. Stress takes a significant toll on us physically and mentally. It leads to anxiety, heart problems, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, and more. Learning to channel your energy through a yoga pose encourages focus and relaxation. Flowing from one yoga pose to another slowly with proper breathing ignites relaxation. As you relax, your heart rate lowers, and you feel calmer. Yoga helps you to destress.
A balancing pose helps overall mental health in more ways than decreasing stress. Holding a balance pose centers you and helps with concentration, body awareness, and overall mental clarity. Being able to focus in modern times is difficult. Our world is filled with distractions from technology. By taking the time to center yourself in a yoga pose, you learn how to concentrate better, leading to better mental health.
Best Hand Balancing Yoga Exercises
Since you understand why yoga benefits mental and physical health, check out some of the arm balance yoga poses we like best for building strength and balance while torching fat.
The headstand or sirsasana is an inverted pose that increases blood flow to the brain. Unlike our handstand guide found here or the Yuri Marmerstein handstand course, the headstand works differently. This arm balance pose helps relieve stress by centering the body and focusing on keeping the balance. It involves a significant amount of core, leg, and shoulder strength to maintain the position. Although this arm balance yoga pose is called a headstand, the position is not meant to be performed with pressure on the head and neck. All the body’s weight is held with the arms and shoulders to build muscle in those areas while avoiding injury to the head and neck.
The peacock or mayurasana pose features arm balances with the trunk of the body supported by the arms, shoulders, and core with the legs lifted off the floor straight behind you. This angle pose requires strength and stability to perform correctly without harming your wrists. Before attempting this challenging arm balance pose, it’s vital to build up to it. There are multiple variations to the peacock pose to help you become successful.
Scissor Leg Side Crow (Eka Pada Koundinyasana)
This full-body arm balance pose works the arms, core, legs, and hips. With the hands placed on the floor, the head is pointed towards the floor with one leg straight in front and one out to the side. The balance required for this builds strength through the arms and shoulders but ignites the core muscles because of the twist in the body. Unlike most yoga poses which pull the gaze forward, you should look down to avoid neck strain. This advanced yoga pose allows your upper arm to support your body weight while building core strength.
Another advanced angle pose is the firefly or titibasana. To perform it, place both arms on the floor between your legs, with the legs lifted into a V position in the air. The firefly pose is excellent for improving balance, but it also stretches muscles through the inner thighs and strengthens the core, arms, and wrists.
Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana)
Another inverted position, the forearm stand or pincha mayurasana, involves the forearms placed on the floor, gaze forward towards the floor, and legs extended straight into the air. Inverted positions like the headstand and forearm stand aid digestion and increase blood flow to the head. While this targets the forearms and core, this yoga pose is a full-body exercise to build strength throughout the body and gain muscle endurance and balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are balancing postures important?
Practicing balance poses helps to re-center our equilibrium. In addition, the arm balances help to align your body to strengthen muscles while stretching and lengthening them. This process helps to increase flexibility.
Is it ok to practice yoga daily?
It is OK to practice yoga every day as long as you are in good health. If you are a beginner, start with less intense yoga poses before attempting these advanced arm balances. It’s best to change the poses you do daily to work different areas of the body and avoid overwork or injury.
Who should avoid yoga?
As with any exercise, it’s best to perform yoga only when feeling healthy enough. Avoid yoga if you are sick or injured. If you suffer from certain health conditions, it’s best to ask a physician before incorporating yoga into your fitness regimen. Women should avoid specific yoga poses like asanas during their menstrual cycle as they can cause increased bleeding and pain in the abdomen. Also, performing yoga immediately after eating is not recommended.
Final Thoughts On Yoga
There are many bodyweight workout apps and workout apps that incorporate yoga to increase flexibility and balance. Building yoga poses into your workouts might answer your flexibility woes. If building strength through bodyweight training sounds better than weight training, yoga balance poses are for you. Check out the arm balances we discussed and report back!
Kristen holds a bachelors in English from Louisianna university. With a longstanding passion for fitness, she owns and operate her own gym and is a certified jazzercise instructor.