• T
  • H
  • M
  • Yoga Arm Balances,
    How do You Get Your Feet Up?

    arm balances, beginners eka pada koundinayasana, eka pada koundinyasana, flying splits, bakasana, beginners eka pada bakasana 1, eka pada bakasana, tittibasana, firefly yoga pose, eka pada bakasana 2, asta vakrasaan, galavasana preparation, entering galavasana arm balance, eka pada galavasana, flying pigeon arm balancing yoga pose

    In most yoga arm balances one or both legs rest on the back of the arm or arms.

    An exception to this general rule is mayurasana, where you place your belly on top of your elbows.

    One action you can work on, either after you are balanced, or to help you balance, is to try pressing your leg (or legs) down against your arm. If you press your legs down you can then use your leg muscles to help provide some lift for your pelvis. Your arms then don't have to do quite so much work.

    Depending on the arm balance pose, you may also find that by varying the downward pressure of your leg(s) on your arm(s) you may be able to help vary the height of your pelvis.

    In terms of getting your feet off of the floor, one of the simplest things that you can do is to shift your weight forwards.

    This means getting as much of your body in front of your hands as there is behind it so that you are actually balanced.

    Tittibasana

    An arm balance where both both legs rest on top of either arm is tittibasana.

    Usually in this pose I start of with my butt on my floor. I get my legs on top of my arms and then I lean forwards to lift my butt.

    tittitabasana arm balance, hands close to butttittibasana, tittibasana yoga posture preparation position yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses, abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercises

    A lot of my students have trouble with this pose because they don't understand the significance of bringing their hands back close to their butt in order to lift up.

    And so I explain, "The closer your hands are to your butt the easier it is to learn forwards far enough that you can lift your butt off of the floor.

    One way to make it easier to get your hands close to your butt is to put your butt on a yoga block. Make sure it's not too high.

    With your butt on a block it's then pretty easy to bring your hands further back. You can then lean forwards to lift your butt.

    tittibasana, tittibasana yoga posture preparation position yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses, abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercises

    Note, whether using a block or not, after you put your legs on top of your arms, lift your feet.

    You may find it easier then to move your hands back.

    At Alternate Way Of Entering Tittibasana Arm Balance

    Another possible entry into tittibasana arm balance is to squat down with your butt lifted.

    Then reach your arms down and back behind your legs.

    Get your hands on the floor, with your shoulders under your thighs, you may find that you can sit back just enough that your feet come off of the floor.

    entering tittibasana by starting in a squat and reaching hands backtittibasana with hands and feet on floor ready to lift uptittibasana arm balance, feet lifted knees bent

    Once you are in tittibasana arm balance, try pressing your thighs down against the top of your arms. Then straighten your knees. Try lifting and lowering your butt (while keeping knees straight) and notice the change in inclination of your arms as you shift your center of gravity.

    If you have trouble with your legs sliding off of the back of your arms in this arm balancing yoga pose, try squeezing your inner thighs to keep them in place.

    Eka Pada Koundinyasana

    Eka pada koundinyasana arm balance is similiar to tittibasana except only one leg is on top of an arm. The other leg reaches back so that you are doing the equivalent of the splits. (Below right.)

    An easy option is to pull the back leg forwards with the knee bent beneath you. This can be used as a stepping stone towards the full pose. (Below left).

    eka pada koundinyasana initial position, preparation position for eka pada koundyinyasana, yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses,  abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exerciseseka pada koundinyasana, yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses,  abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercises

    To get into the eka pada koundinyasana arm balance (flying splits), first sit cross legged. Keep one leg where it is and lift the other leg, try to get it behind your shoulder or at the least behind your upper arm. Use your inner thigh muscles to help keep it in place.

    So that your inner thigh has something to work against you may have to press your arm outwards to resist your leg.

    Lean forwards and press your hands down into the ground.

    Lift your hips. Then lift your bottom knee. (Relax and repeat this a few times if you need to.) Then lift your bottom foot.

    You may find it easier to lift your hips if you press your lifted leg down onto the back of your arm.

    Once you are comfortable with lifting your bottom leg you can work at reaching it back. However instead of focusing on reaching it back, instead focus on moving your chest and shoulders forwards. You may find that you feel like you are going to do a face plant. To prevent a face plant reach your bottom leg back.

    The further you reach your body forwards the further you'll have to reach your back leg back.

    To make this pose easier on your shoulders, try using your serratus anterior to spread your shoulder blades and stabilize them. This can feel like you are using your shoulders to push the back of your ribcage upwards, towards the ceiling.

    Astavakrasana

    astavakrasana, astavakrasana preparation position,  yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses, abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercisesastavakrasana, yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses,  abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercises

    In the Astavakrasana arm balance you can again start with one leg over your shoulder. For this posture cross your ankles. (I would suggest here that it doesn't matter which leg is crossed in front. Try both options and see which works best. Or try both options just so that you can do both options.)

    Once your ankles are crossed, slowly straighten your knees while keeping your ankles crossed. Your legs will reach slightly forwards as you do so. You'll also find that your legs are pinching your upper arm or shoulder (depending on how high up your arms your top leg is.)

    As in the eka Koundinyasana arm balance, press your top leg down onto your arm. Press your hands down into the floor and lean your shoulders far enough forwards that you can lift your butt.

    Remember to say "astavakrasana baby."

    Bakasana

    bakasana, bakasana preparation position, feet close to floor, yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses, abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercisesbakasana, yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses,  abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercises

    In crow pose (bakasana) your shins or knees rest on top of your arms. I've done a video for beginners on youtube.

    Lots of people have trouble lifting their feet in crow pose. View the video that helped them.

    Eka Pada Bakasana 1

    eka pada bakasana 1 (lifted leg bent) yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses,  abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exerciseseka pada bakasana 1 (leg back) yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses,  abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercises

    In eka pada bakasana arm balance (one legged crow pose) you press your knee against your upper arm to lift your butt.

    As in eka pada Koundinyasana you can start with the free leg hanging down between your arms. Then, instead of reaching the leg back, focus on moving your shoulders forwards, ahead of your hands. Do this slowly. As you do so you may find that your free leg naturally reaches back in order to keep your balanced.

    Note that the higher your lift your leg in this pose the less forwards your have to reach. Likewise, with your leg horizontal, then you'll have to reach your chest forwards far enough to stay balanced.

    Eka Pada Bakasana 2

    eka pada bakasana 2 preparation position, yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses, abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exerciseseka pada bakasana 2 (leg forwards) yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses,  abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercises

    If you want to do eka pada bakasana 2, simply move the back leg forwards from eka pada bakasana 1. Once you get it forwards, press it down against the top of your arm or shoulder. Now you can press both legs down against the arms.

    Or to start from the very beginning, have one arm in front one shin and the other leg on top of the other arm. Press your legs against your arms. Lean your body forwards so that your butt lifts off of the floor.

    Galavasana

    yoga poses preparation postion for galavasana, galavasana yoga pose, yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses,  abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercisesgalavasana, yoga poses, yoga postures, arm balancing yoga poses, arm balancing yoga postures, arm strengthening yoga poses,  abdominal strengthening yoga poses, yoga balance poses, balance exercises

    In galavasana arm balance (or flying pigeon since the leg position is similiar to that in pigeon yoga pose), squat down with one ankle on top of your other knee.

    With your right leg on top, place your right knee in behind your right armpit. Place your right ankle in the back of your left armpit. With your hands on the floor use your thigh muscles to press your shin into the backs of your arms. Press so that you use that leg to lift your pelvis. Shift your weight forwards onto your hands so that you can lift your bottom leg.

    Here again, reach your torso forwards so that your free leg naturally reaches back.

    As with eka pada bakasana arm balance, the higher you lift your leg the less far you have to reach forwards in this arm balance to stay balanced.

    Press Down to Lift Higher

    In all of these arm balances at least one leg is on top of an arm.

    Press that leg into your arm so that your leg is doing some of the work of supporting your body.

    In most cases reach your body forwards so that you have enough of your body in front of your hands to balance the part that is reaching back behind your hands.

    Arm Balance Counter Poses

    table top yoga pose, counterpose for arm balances reverse plank yoga pose, counterpose for arm balances camel yoga pose, counterpose for arm balances

    How do you counter pose arm balances?

    Generally, in all arm balances the arms are in front of the body and supporting all of the body's weight, similar to chaturanga dandasana. However, the difference is that the leg (or legs) are on top of the arms.

    Arm balances can actually be easier on the arms that than chaturanga dandasana.

    But anyway, because the arms are in front of the body while doing arm balances, one idea of counter posing arm balances is to do a yoga pose where the arms are behind the body.

    Even better is having the arms behind the body and supporting some or all of the weight of the body such as in table top yoga pose, reverse plank or even camel yoga pose. (Move the Shoulder Blades Together for all of these counter poses.)

    Balance Abdominal Strength With Back Strength

    Another feature of arm balances is that they tend to use a lot of abdominal strength (and hence can be good for exercising the abs). And so an additional feature of any arm balancing counterpose is to stretch the abs and perhaps also to exercise the opposing set of muscles, the spinal erectors.

    And so backbending yoga poses with the arms behind you are a good way to counter pose arm balances.

    By the same token, arm balances can be used as counter poses for back bends.

    You May Also Be Interested In Reading

    A Key Element in balancing is stability. How do you create stability (and sensitivity)? Read More in Improving Balance.

    Balancing an object is simple. We all know that we move it one way or another until its balance point is over the foundation. How do we know where our own balance point is? Read more in Yoga Balance Poses.

    Balance exercises can be fun. But they can also be tricky. Find out how to work towards tricky (and fun) balance poses in Yoga Poses to Improve Balance.

    Return to Home Page

    Return to Yoga Poses to Improve Balance from Arm Balances

    Conscious Muscle Control

    Improve Strength and Flexibility

    What's New?

    Yoga Routine Video for Strengthening Arms and Legs Via Friction and Pressure

    This yoga routine video is designed to help you strengthen your arms and legs via the use of friction and pressure. It also teaches you how to become more aware of your body.

    Continue reading "Yoga Routine Video for Strengthening Arms and Legs Via Friction and Pressure"

    Quad Stretching Yoga Poses

    Kneeling, lying, standing and wall assisted quadricep stretching yoga poses with tips for making these stretches more effective.

    Continue reading "Quad Stretching Yoga Poses"

    Transverse Abdominal Exercises

    The transverse abdominis muscle can be broken down into three parts. Transverse abdominal exercises can thus affect the SI Joint, lumbar spine and the lower portion of the ribcage.

    Continue reading "Transverse Abdominal Exercises"

    Knee Strengthening Exercises

    To improve the resiliency of your knees it can help to exercise them in a variety of positions. The following yoga poses can be used as knee strengthening exercises. The trick is to activate your knees while doing them.

    Continue reading "Knee Strengthening Exercises"

    Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors

    Learn to consciously control your quads and hip flexors with Conscious Muscle Control: Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors. This downloadable video course teaches you how to feel and activate your quadriceps (the vastus muscles) as well as the rectus femoris, tensor fascae latae and sartorius muscles.

    Continue reading "Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors"

    Calf Stretches

    For any calf stretch you have to bend your ankle forwards to stretch the soleus and/or gastrocnemius. How you bend the ankle forwards can make the stretch more or less effective.

    Continue reading "Calf Stretches"

    Yoga for Flexibility

    Yoga for flexibility with stretches for the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, psoas, shoulders and arms. These yoga stretches are designed to improve flexiblity.

    Continue reading "Yoga for Flexibility"

    Learning to Activate Hamstrings and Glutes

    Glute and Hamstring activation can be used to compliment the quad and hip flexors for a balanced practice. Conscious Muscle Control: Hamstrings and Glutes is a video course designed to teach you how to activate your glutes and hamstrings at will. You'll also develop the ability to feel them activate and relax.

    Continue reading "Learning to Activate Hamstrings and Glutes"

    Learning to Activate Hamstrings and Glutes

    Glute and Hamstring activation can be used to compliment the quad and hip flexors for a balanced practice. Conscious Muscle Control: Hamstrings and Glutes is a video course designed to teach you how to activate your glutes and hamstrings at will. You'll also develop the ability to feel them activate and relax.

    Continue reading "Learning to Activate Hamstrings and Glutes"

    Learning to Activate your Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors

    Learn how to activate your quads and hip flexors so that you can use them at will. Conscious Muscle Control: Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors not only teaches you how to activate and relax your quads and hip flexors at will, it also teaches you how to feel when they are active and when they are relaxed. This clearly defined awareness can help you get more in touch with your body.

    Continue reading "Learning to Activate your Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors"

    Stability in Yoga Poses

    Make your yoga poses less wobbly with less effort. Grounding and centering are two techniques for creating stability in yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Stability in Yoga Poses"

    Arm Supported Yoga Poses

    Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.

    Continue reading "Arm Supported Yoga Poses"

    Exercises in Muscle Control

    Exercises in muscle control 1 teachers you how to activate and relax your knees, hips, front and back of the leg and also inner and outer thighs. These activations can be used in standing poses as leg strenghtening exercises and to improve flexiblity.

    Continue reading "Exercises in Muscle Control"

    Transverse Abdominus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers

    The transverse abdominus muscle can affect the SI joint, lumbar and lower thoracic spine stability, used in various diaphragmatic breathing techniques and act as a tension adjuster for the rectus abdominus.

    Continue reading "Transverse Abdominus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers"

    Effectively Activating Transverse Abdominus

    Effectively Activating Transverse Abdominus can mean better stability for the SI Joint as well as for the lumbar and lower thoracic spine.

    Continue reading "Effectively Activating Transverse Abdominus"

    Joint Pain Yoga

    Rather than fighting through joint pain here is an overview of the approach that I've used to help alleviate hip pain, knee pain or shoulder joint pain while doing yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Joint Pain Yoga"

    Feeling Your Center of Gravity

    Make balancing easier. Use pressure sensitivity to feel your center of gravity.

    Continue reading "Feeling Your Center of Gravity"

    Camel Yoga Pose

    Camel Yoga Pose or ustrasana is a kneeling pose that can be used to stretch the hip flexors. One key action that may help in getting your pelvis forwards more is pushing your hands forwards, either against your feet or against the floor.

    Continue reading "Camel Yoga Pose"

    How to do Squats

    A yoga approach to how to do squats including how to stay balanced, and avoiding knee or hip pain even while going all the way down.

    Continue reading "How to do Squats"

    Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability

    The transverse abdominis can have an affect on sacroiliac joint stability as well as stability of the lumbar spine and the T12/L1 junction.

    Continue reading "Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability"

    Dealing with Pain and Poor Posture

    Basic Awareness

    Poses

    Actions and Exercises

    Basic Principles for Yoga Poses