The Secret to Better Arm Balances?
Think relaxation, not strength.
On the Way to BAKASANA (Crane Pose)
This pose is a perfect introduction to the subtleties of arm balancing because of its deeply folded, compact shape, as well as the back rounding and the groin and hip opening it requires. The squatting and folding elements of the first prep pose, Marichyasana I (Marichi's Twist I), will help develop the hip flexibility and postural awareness necessary to do Bakasana with less effort and resistance. The second prep pose, Malasana (Garland Pose), will broaden and free your upper back, safely round your spine, and teach you Bakasana's shape.
And to release tension in your hips and legs, try practicing Balasana (Child's Pose), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), and Virasana (Hero Pose). For instruction in these poses, go to yogajournal.com/poses. If you have the suppleness for Bakasana but not the strength, try this: Lie on your back, reach your arms toward the ceiling, draw your knees toward your chest, and lift your head and chest off the floor. This is Bakasana on your back. Your abdominals may nearly catch fire, but the core strength will come in handy.
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