3 Secrets for Better Arm Balances

Struggling with arm balances? The secret lies in the hands and forearms. Learn how to support your weight throughout your inversion practice.
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Struggling with arm balances? The secret lies in the hands and forearms. Learn how to support your weight throughout your inversion practice.
Jeffrey Posner in Crow Pose, bakasana

Bryant Park Yoga is back in New York City for its 12th season, featuring teachers curated by Yoga Journal. This week's featured instructor is Jeffrey Posner, who will teach on Tuesday morning, July 28th.

Struggling with arm balances? From Crane (Crow) Pose to an all-out Handstand, the form in the hands and forearms remains the same. Mastering this form will help you build the proper foundation to support your weight throughout your inversion practice.

WATCH Posner's 2-minute arm balance tutorial

3 Secrets for Better Arm Balances

1. Use Hands and Wrists the Right Way

When you learn how to properly distribute your weight throughout the hand, specifically in the triad of the hand (metacarpal knuckles of thumb, index, and pointer), the balance will take on a new feeling of lightness. Learning to distribute the weight and find balance in the hands is very similar to how a baby learns to balance and take their first steps. When learning to walk and balance on the feet, the weight must be shifted into the toe mound (the front of the foot) to achieve even weight distribution in the feet. The same rule applies for the hands: As you move the weight of your body forward to enter the pose, the triad of your hand should begin to bear the weight.

Once bearing your weight evenly in your hands, you must use your wrists to resist the weight moving forward in the hands and body. Think of the way your ankles push your feet into the floor when you walk to keep you from falling on your face. Same rule applies here: you flex the wrists to push the hands into the floor so you don't fall on your face.

READ MORE 5 Tips to Improve Your Arm Balances

2. Find Correct Forearm Placement

When the hands are flat, the forearms should start perpendicular to the floor. The farther the forearms move forward, the more the body is able to open up in a pose. Think of your shins and how they move when you walk: more control is achieved when the shins are moving in a forward angle to keep the weight into the toe mound rather than leaning back into the heels of the feet. When it comes to arm balances, this forward motion keeps the weight in the triad of the hand, so you have something to add wrist flexion against. Keep your gaze 6-8 inches in front of your hands as another way to keep the weight moving in the right direction.

3. Give Yourself Time

If this technique is new to you, then take it slow. Wrist flexion is a big part of arm balances, and unfortunately we rarely do the actions necessary in our daily lives to strengthen the wrists. Over time, you will build this strength, and improve your arm balances.

READ MORE Why Bother With Arm Balances? 

Check the schedule of upcoming Bryant Park Yoga classes, which take place every Tuesday and Thursday through Sept. 23. and join us. Follow the Bryant Park Yoga series at #YJendlessYOGAsummer.