5 Cool Ways to Use Props for Arm Balances

Are you ready to fly?
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arm balances, Titibasana

Arm balance props can make all the difference between feeling like you can fly—and falling on your face. Here are five surprising setups to help you succeed at any arm balance.

I am not the most acrobatic yogi. When a teacher tells me to float to the top of my mat, my float is more of a too-fast thump. Plus, thanks to my hypermobile elbows and bendy lower back, Handstand in the middle of the room continues to be my nemesis.

Arm balances, however, are an exception. They are a rare moment in my practice where I feel like I can truly fly.

But it wasn’t always this way.

See also 5 Tips to Improve Your Arm Balances

I fell on my tush (and face!) plenty of times over the years. It took some dedication and experimentation to figure out the secret to balancing. And I’m here to fill you in on a few secrets. A key component to arm balancing is figuring where your center of gravity should be, and because no arm balance is alike—in some, the body is compact; in others, we are spread in a split—it took a lot of trial and error to find the perfect equation of engagement and length to achieve flight.

The center point upon which things balance is called a fulcrum. Arm balances are like a see-saw: When the weight on one end is heavier, that side falls to the floor. If you have equal weight on both sides, you (like a seesaw) will hover.

Experimenting with props was extremely informative for improving my understanding of this concept in arm balances. Chairs, blocks, bolsters, and even the wall can provide support for one end of the body, ultimately making it lighter so you can figure out where your fulcrum is. Having support allows you to stay in the pose longer, so you can get the benefits of the shape without strain. Props also make poses more accessible and can be particularly helpful for people who do not yet have the strength or length necessary to make the full shape.

See also 4 Surprising Ways to Use a Yoga Bolster

Here are five fun ways to use props for arm balancing. Just keep in mind that arm balances are generally taught at the peak of a sequence, when you’re most warm. Before playing with these different variations, be sure to warm up your hamstrings and shoulder girdle sufficiently.