A common misbelief is that arm balances require tremendous shoulder strength. This misunderstanding embodies the idea of avidya, or nonseeing, a central concept in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Patanjali suggests that avidya is the root cause of all suffering: When we fail to see things accurately, we are inhibited in our ability to act skillfully. The upper body does play a significant role in poses like Eka Pada Koundinyasana I, but learning how to use the legs and a very specific part of the foot—a habit you can start to form in Chaturanga—can have a transformative effect. As you practice, see what happens when you invite the lower body to become a more active participant. Where else in your life might misperception be distorting your experience?
See also YOGAPEDIA: Standing Forward Bend to Firefly Pose