The Secret to Better Arm Balances?
Think relaxation, not strength.
On the Way to PARSVA BAKASANA (Side Crane Pose)
By practicing the deep, wringing twist that Parsva Bakasana requires, you'll cultivate greater strength and awareness in your abdominals—particularly your obliques—and create a healthy squeezing action in the digestive organs. But, alas, if your hips are tight and your spine doesn't rotate easily, this pose will be a real downer. Tension in these crucial areas will pull you out of it, and you'll fatigue early because you'll be struggling against your body's resistance. So your first prep pose, Marichyasana III, is intended to create greater movement and ease in your hips and back. Regularly practicing additional hip openers such as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose), Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), and Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose) will also help.
And while we don't often think of standing poses as helpful for arm balances, the second prep pose, a variation of Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose), is a great warmup. It twists the torso deeply, opens the outer hips, and gives you an opportunity to focus on balance. Other useful warmups include Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose) and Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose).
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