Arm support yoga poses

Arm support yoga poses

Strengthen wrists and shoulders in arm support yoga poses. By Abby Turner

When we balance our entire body on the hands, it requires focus, strength, and control. Arm support yoga poses are freeing and energising. They bring us closer to the logical fear of falling and this is linked to our ego and the desire of being in control.

The irony is that we are trying to lose the ego when we practice yoga. This is why practicing arm support yoga poses bring us a balance between self-confidence and humility.

We can also begin to feel a bit of humour and playfulness in our practice because the poses are so challenging. The more we practice, the more we will find these poses attainable.

Here is a little humour as I try to sequence Mayurasana (Peacock Pose): Step by Step Peacock Pose - YouTube

Arm support yoga poses
Photo: Joshua Turner Photography

How to care for wrists in arm support yoga poses

The wrists are at greatest risk in all arm support yoga poses as the weight of body is held on the forearms, hands, and wrists.

Be cautious if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and learn to modify the arm balances. These tips will help to prepare your wrists for the pressure of arm balances:

You can use a wedge to help prop up wrists until you are free of pain.

Try rolling the wrists through a full range of motion.

Place back of the wrists on the floor in forward folds.

Press palms and fingers together in prayer motion, or stretch one hand with the other.

Students should always place hands on the floor with fingers fully extended and knuckles flat on the floor and be mindful of alignment: wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

Along with wrist support, we should know how to fire up the core in preparation for arm support yoga poses.

Abdominal work can help you feel the sense of lifting and radiating out of the core.

Tips for practicing arm support yoga poses:

Practice Adho Muhka Savasana (downward dog), Phalankasana (plank), and chaturanga for at least one year to strengthen the wrists, arms, and shoulders so that the body is prepared for bringing more weight onto the hands.

Don't rush through arm balances. Learn them step by step and take your time to open and warm the muscles needed to achieve the poses.

Want to start with an arm support yoga pose but don't know what one to start with? Try Bakasana (crow pose) or Vasistasana (side plank).

Arm balances warm the body and are good preparation for back bends. The arm balances often warm and strengthen the shoulders that are needed for later back bends.

Don't be afraid to utilise props to learn how to lift.

Arm support yoga poses
Photo: Joshua Turner Photography
Arm support yoga poses
Photo: Joshua Turner Photography

Abby Turner

Abby Turner is owner of Yoga Traveler, an online yoga studio specializing in pain management.