Learning To Fly Arm Balancing by Sian Grayson

Most of you know me as a pregnancy yoga teacher but I do teach other styles and my personal practice is Ashtanga. You might be surprised when I say one of my favourite things to do is arm balance! They teach focus, work your core and upper body strength and lets face it – they look cool.

The reaction in my class when I say ‘right it’s time for arm balances’ varies; some laugh (that’ll never happen) some get excited and some are just plain fearful. Yes they are very challenging poses that require strength and flexibility but they have great benefits.

Many people, especially women, come to yoga relatively weak in the upper body. This weakness may be because of a lack of regular work with the arms, shoulders, chest, and abdomen. This weakness can usually progresses as the decades go by. Over many years, the lack of hard work that challenges the upper body muscles and bones also contributes to loss of mineralization in those bones—osteoporosis—which can be a serious health problem. These poses can also strengthen the balance reflex and help prevent falls. So say yes to arm balances!

You may ask; how can you achieve this awesomness? First build strength in the upper body you can do this with plank pose and chaturanga to help work those arms and the core. Next get your base right, hand placement is important wrist underneath the shoulders and hands flat with fingers spread. Then focus your gaze this is very important in any balance. Find one spot to look at and concentrate on the spot (make sure it’s not the floor) then off you go. I know, I know it’s not that easy but practice and practice, that first time you get your feet off the floor is the best thing ever!

Back to my students…. They all have different reactions but they all try it which I love about them, every week they set themselves up and fly. One of the students just happens to be my Mam she was one of the people who laughed and said that will never happen but she tries every week and is so close! She even did a headstand recently but that’s another story altogether. I’m having to teach myself new arm balances to satiate their lust to fly.

I hope you are inspired to grab some pillows (you will fall) and feel the fear and do it anyway!