Preparation For Full Arm Balance
Type : Inversion
Justification : Arm Balance
Physical Benefits : Stimulates the Circulatory, Respiratory, Skeletal and Muscular Systems. Strengthens the shoulders, upper body and wrists. Builds upper-body strength in general.
Therapeutic Benefits : Energizes the entire body, builds self-confidence and dispells fear. Brings joy and overrides lethargy.
Limitations : To be avoided if you have high blood pressure, cardiac condition, shoulder or wrist injuries, glaucoma or detached retina, headache or menstruation.
How To Practice : Ok, there are a few ways to skin this cat and I’ll talk about two here. To come into this posture, one way is to sit in staff pose (Dandasana) with the feet against the wall. Without changing the measure, place your left hand where your right hand is, and replace the right hand where the left hand was turning into yourself and ultimately finding yourself on your hands and knees. Now this is where things get interesting because your fear button starts flashing as your brain begins to understand where you are taking your body. Hush it up ! Keep your hands exactly where they are ! DO NOT move them forward ! Trust that this is the measure for your body- don’t move it ! Ok now, from there, straighten your arms, hands firmly under your shoulders, moving your inner armpits towards the wall, lift your knees and start to find the wall with your feet, pushing them firmly into the wall as if you were nailed into the wall with them. Walk them up to the same height as your hips to form a square with your body and the wall. Press into the hands, extending the foremarms and humerus all the while drawing your shoulders away from your ears and pushing you shoulder-blades towards your sternum. Calm your mind from thinking that you will topple forward- this will not happen. This is your monkey brain trying to over-rule your body-do not let it. Now observe the state of your spine- draw the front ribs in and expand the back ribs in order to justify the erectness of the dorsal and lumbar spine. Hold 3-5 breaths and remember to breathe. Come down gently and extend into Child’s Pose (Adho Mukha Virasana) for a few breaths to recuperate.
The second way to go into this pose is to start on your hands and knees with the feet flush against the wall, hands directly under your shoulders. Lift the knees up and find a mini downward dog (Adho Mukha Savasana). Press one foot into the wall firmly followed by the second one and again find the perfect angle to form with the wall a square, rooting the hands firmly into the floor and keeping the arms as straight as possible. Make sure you haven’t crept your feet too far up the wall . Now again, observe what your back is doing. Bring the front ribs in towards the spinal column and expand the back ribs to help lengthen the dorsal and lumbar spine. Do not over-arch your back. Keep your coccyx and oxyput in line with each other. Breathe 3-5 breaths before lightly touching down with your feet. Find child’s pose again to recuperate.
Note : For newbies and beginning practitioners, you may experience some discomfort, even some pain in your wrists and hands. This is completely normal. This preparation is perfect for gaining the strength neccessary in both the wrist and the shoulder girdle- to practice full handstand.