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Learn The Yoga Arm Balancing Poses

Updated on April 30, 2013

Energize, Stretch and Strengthen with Yoga

Yoga is an ancient and rich tradition which combines physical postures (asanas), breath work (pranayama) and meditation. Through the practice of yoga, we become aware of the interconnectedness between our emotional, mental and physical levels as we are drawn into the present moment through the concentration on breath and form.

Yoga has been an amazing practice for me as it has transformed me both in body, mind and spirit. This lens highlights some of my favorite and most challenging yoga poses - the arm balances. Go ahead, give a few of them a try to explore the many benefits yoga has to offer.

Learn The Yoga Arm Balancing Poses - Scorpion

Ready for a Challenge? Here it is!

VRSCHIKASANA (SCORPION)

Vrschika = Scorpion; Asana = Posture

From forearm stand, knees are bent. Head is lifted and feet are brought close to the head in a deep backbend. Knees separate toes remain together.

Benefits of the posture:

* creates integration and balance between upper and lower body

* strengthens and stretches the legs and shoulders

* calms the nervous system

* strengthens arms and shoulders and aligns the shoulder girdle in relation to the trunk, pelvis and legs

* increases circulation to the torso, head and brain

* teaches the body to rest while in a state of activity

* develops a sense of inner balance

Learn The Yoga Arm Balancing Poses - Firefly

Have fun with this one!

BHUJA PIDASANA (FIREFLY)

Bhuja = Shoulder, arm; Pida = pressure; Asana = Posture

From a squat position, the hands are placed six inches in front of the feet. Torso is lengthened through the crown of the head as the shoulders are relaxed down away from the ears. Gaze is soft, forehead and chin relaxed, head in line with the spine. Arms are thread between the legs one at a time such that the hands rest on the floor behind the ankles with the finger tips facing forward. Backs of the knees rest on the upper arms and the knees then walk up toward the shoulder blades as far as possible. Feet are lifted off the earth. Thighs are pressed against the upper arms and the upper arms against the thighs to stabilize the pose. Feet are flexed.

Benefits of the posture:

* strengthens upper body

* good for digestion and elimination

* massages and regenerates the kidneys and adrenal glands

* supports the health of the prostate and pelvic floor

* good for hemorrhoids

Learn The Yoga Arm Balancing Poses - Crow

This is the easiest one!

KAKASANA (CROW)

Kaka = Crow; Asana = Posture

From a squat position, hands are placed on the earth about one foot in front of the body with the arms about hip distance apart and parallel. Fingers are spread wide with a firm base of support between the thumbs and index fingers and the pads under the knuckles. Knees are drawn as close to the armpits as possible and rest on the triceps muscles. Knees press against the arms and arms press against the knees equally. Shoulder blades are relaxed down creating space across the front and back of the chest. Torso is lifted up and forward. Body comes forward as the weight of the legs and torso rest on the upper arms. Feet are lifted off the floor one at a time. Once the balance point is achieved, toes touch. As the pose is held longer, core strength is increased.

Benefits of the posture:

* builds strength and stamina, especially for the shoulder girdle

* massages abdominal organs

Tools To Practice Yoga

YogaAccessories 1/4" Thick High-Density Deluxe Non-Slip Exercise Pilates & Yoga Mat, Dark Blue
YogaAccessories 1/4" Thick High-Density Deluxe Non-Slip Exercise Pilates & Yoga Mat, Dark Blue

A yoga mat is essential to any yoga practice, I like a thicker one and there are tons of colors to choose from.

 
Moss yogitoes® mat size SKIDLESS® yoga towel + olive green hBand stretchy headband combo by Absolute Yogi®
Moss yogitoes® mat size SKIDLESS® yoga towel + olive green hBand stretchy headband combo by Absolute Yogi®

If you do a practice like vinyasa where you break a sweat, yogi toes are a big plus. They help you grip your mat and get into poses without sliding all over the place. Highly recommended.

 
Hugger Mugger 4-Inch Foam Yoga Block
Hugger Mugger 4-Inch Foam Yoga Block

A block and a strap can assist you in getting into those difficult poses and take your current poses deeper.

 
Hugger Mugger D-Ring Yoga Strap 8-Foot (Natural)
Hugger Mugger D-Ring Yoga Strap 8-Foot (Natural)

A block and a strap can assist you in getting into those difficult poses and take your current poses deeper.

 

The Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice

If You Can Breathe, You Can Do Yoga!

The benefits of yoga are many, from stress reduction to increased strength and flexibility and improved mental clarity. It truly does not matter if you are over weight, out of shape, inflexible, have never done yoga before, are a teen or a senior citizen, yoga is for everyone.There are many well documented benefits to a regular yoga practice.

Perhaps the most important and certainly the most noticeable benefit of a regular yoga practice is a reduction in stress.Yoga relaxes the mind, centers attention and sharpens concentration. This creates mental clarity and calmness.

Regular practice of yoga has been shown to help such diverse ailments such as diabetes, blood pressure, digestive disorders, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, chronic fatigue, asthma, varicose veins and heart conditions. According to medical scientists, yoga therapy is successful in doing this because of the balance created in the nervous and endocrine systems which directly influences all the other systems and organs of the body.

My personal favorite benefits of yoga are:

Posture. The very nature of yoga teaches the practitioner how to hold and control one's body in a more healthful position. When I leave a yoga class, I stand tall, my head and heart are lifted and I feel fantastic.

Strength and flexibility. One of the premises of yoga is that you are using the weight of your own body for overall strength. Prior to my regular yoga practice, I was a mile away from touching my toes, now I get there with ease and then some.

Aging. Yoga stimulates the detoxification process within the body. Detoxification has been shown to delay aging. I certainly feel younger and more energized from the practice.

Weight. The exercise of yoga stimulates the metabolism which helps keep the weight in check. Additionally, the stretching of muscles longwise helps to reduce the amount of cellulite that can build around muscles.

Sleep. A lot of people find that the calming of the mind and body and release from stress allow for much better sleep.

Balance. An integral part of the yoga practice is balance and control over your body. I find that my balance in other althetic endeavors has improved overall as a result of my regular yoga practice. As we age and balance becomes increasingly more difficult this is a very important benefit.

If you are new to yoga and perhaps intimidated or uncertain about going to a yoga class at a gym or studio, it is possible to practice at home. Many books are available as well as on line instruction. Many instructors are available for private home practice. And finally, instuctional DVDs and Downloads are available. Lotus Petal Yoga http://www.lotuspetalyoga.com/ provides such instruction from certified instructors like myself! who are dedicated to the conscious practice of yoga and would like nothing more than to see you enjoy the many wonderful beneifts that yoga has to offer.

Whether you are new to yoga or a seasoned practitioner, I hope you can enjoy Lotus Petal Yoga in some capacity. It offers exclusive Vinyasa style class downloads and DVDs, detailed posture descriptions, and basic knowledge to expand your experience of Yoga, Lotus Petal Yoga can teach you the basics or enhance and improve your current skills.

When you download a video, you create a flexible and affordable yoga program that you can take with you anywhere. With Lotus Petal Yoga, you can leave the pace, location and schedule up to you.

Learn The Yoga Arm Balancing Poses - Side crow

Ready for a Challenge? Here it is!

PARIVRITTA KAKASANA (SIDE CROW)

Parivritta = Rotated, twisted; Kaka = Crow; Asana = Posture

From a squat position, thighs parallel to the floor. On the right side: The left elbow is brought to the outside of the right thigh. Torso is twisted to the right, and left lower ribs are brought across the right thigh as far as possible. The back of the left arm slides down the outside of the right thigh, bringing the outer armpit as close to the outer thigh possible. The left upper arm slides several inches toward the right hip and presses firmly against the right thigh; maintaining this pressure, the upper arm is drawn back toward the right knee without allowing the skin to slide. The left palm rests on the floor just outside the right foot. If the hand doesn't easily reach the floor, the torso is tipped to the right until the hand can be placed flat. Maintaining contact between your left upper arm and your right outer thigh, Torso leans even more to the right. Hands are shoulder width apart and positioned on an imaginary line drawn diagonally away from the right foot angled in the direction of the heel. Fingers are parallel to each other. Maintaining the point of contact between the left arm and right thigh the pelvis slowly lifts and shifts to the right. The middle of the abdomen is brought above and between the hands. Feet stay together and press out through their inner edges. Heels are drawn toward the buttocks. For the scissoring of the legs, the left hip is pulled strongly down and both feet are lifted up. Arms begin to straighten as the spine twists further. Head and chest are lifted and gaze is forward. More advanced variation weight is lifted off of the back hip and balance is on the right arm only.

Benefits of the posture:

* builds strength and stamina, especially for the shoulder girdle

* massages abdominal organs

Recommended Reading - Books I love..perhaps you'll Like 'em too

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)

Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher not aligned with any particular religion. He imparts a simple yet profound message in all of his writings, the key to peace and happiness can be found in the present moment. As a yoga instructor, I draw upon Eckhart's words almost daily in class.

 
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Eckhart Tolles first book. A powerful read. Its helpful to read this one prior to A New Earth but not necessary as they both speak the same timeless truth.

 
Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic
Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic

Fantastic book with useful tips as to how to bring the yogic lifestyle into your modern everyday life.

 
Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness
Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness

shows yoga students of all levels and traditions how to use yoga as spiritual practice and a vehicle to connect body and mind.

 
Chakras and Their Archetypes: Uniting Energy Awareness and Spiritual Growth
Chakras and Their Archetypes: Uniting Energy Awareness and Spiritual Growth

Ambika Wauters explores how linking classic archetypes to the seven chakras in the human energy system can reveal unconscious ways of behaving and serve as a valuable tool for transformation and healing.

 

Learn The Yoga Arm Balancing Poses - Peacock

Ready to try one more?

MAYURA (PEACOCK)

Mayura = Peacock; Asana = Posture

From a kneeling position, palms plant on the floor fingers turned back toward the torso (thumbs pointing out to the sides). Elbows are bent and outer forearms are drawn together. Front of the torso leans onto the backs of the upper arms as the elbows burrow deep into the belly at or below the navel. If the elbows slide apart they can be bound with a strap. The belly is firmed up against the pressure of the elbows. Knees straighten and legs stretch out behind the torso. Buttocks are firm and shoulders are slightly rounded downward. Head is lifted off the floor and gaze is forward. Weight shifts forward. Legs lift up off the floor as the weight is shifted and the belly and buttocks are firmed up.

Benefits of the posture:

* builds strength and stamina, especially for the shoulder girdle

* massages abdominal organs

* good for elimination

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    • pjsart profile image

      pjsart 3 years ago

      Great to see, but I think at my age I will stick to balancing against the wall, lol I love to see what others can do. Please stop by and visit my new lens: https://hubpages.com/health/teaching-yoga-and-medi...

    • Gerald McConway profile image

      Gerald McConway 6 years ago

      Really great intro to yoga information on here. Just getting started on Yoga, so I really appreciate the information, thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I was doing some Yoga and not knowing it, for upper body strength in Wrestling Train, we used to do the "Crow!" This also taught us the importance of Balance, killing two bird with one stone, if you will!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      hi lotuspetal! keep up the good work!

    • profile image

      Fit_Over_40_Buzz 7 years ago

      Very cool lens. Informative and fun. Thanks for sharing. Thumbs Up given.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Another great lens and more great pics. Thanks.

      http://www.yoga-business.net/

    • LotusMalas profile image

      LotusMalas 7 years ago

      These are the poses I find the most difficult! This is a fabulous guide!

    • Coffee-Break profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 7 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      Excellent lens, and great pictures.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 7 years ago

      Great lens, but you knew that :) Just wanted to remind you that this is featured on the Hinduism and Yoga Headquarters: http://www.squidoo.com/groups/Hinduism-yoga

      It's now transformed into a lensography and I would love it if you could feature it here, or lensroll it or something.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Great yoga lens. They make it look so easy. Some great exercises.

      Thanks for adding this to http://www.squidoo.com/rocketmoms-healthy-living-g...

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Lovely lens. Blessed by an Angel today (squidoo.com/october-blessings)

    • profile image

      roysumit 8 years ago

      Hi friend,

      This is a great page. I practice Yoga but not these asanas. These I think are meant for the more experienced and advanced practitioners like you. I prefer the simpler ones. Very well described with appropriate pics. Five stars.

    • profile image

      JLCollins 8 years ago

      Great lens on yoga! O, thought I could do poses as well as the photos show!

    • profile image

      tcinvestor 8 years ago

      Cool site with some good exercises. Always supporting anyone who seeks to help others achieve optimal wellbeing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hi! This is just a SUPER LENS! I have always wanted to learn to do Yoga, so I will come here to learn more.

    • The Eclectic Muse profile image

      The Eclectic Muse 8 years ago

      Super lens! I need to start doing yoga again. I don't know I could do some of the featured poses, but after a time maybe I could. Thanks!

    • profile image

      DaveWalters 8 years ago

      Very nice lens. I've been doing Yoga regularly for about 12 years now. I don't like starting my day without it. There are just so many benefits I could never list them all!

    • profile image

      aliwinet 8 years ago

      I love the website and the videodownloads and I nejoy how the site is NOT all cluttered with advertising and junk.