arm balances, asthanga yoga, Yoga
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Arm Balance Workshop: Or, How to Wear Out Your Body (in a day)

Today I did an  arm balance workshop at a yoga studio in Adams Morgan. First of all, I was wildly impressed that I didn’t abandon my intention to learn and perfect some arm balances, because that area is one of my favorites to brunch in. It’s so fun and eclectic, and I just adore it. I biked over from my home (I know, could I be more considerate of the environment? I mean, maybe if I were a little better at recycling, but whatever)

The instructor was a lovely, wide openhearted girl who did a great job of leading our small group in some more advanced arm balances and transitions in and out of them. I am thrilled that I finally got titibhasana (not with the greatest grace or Instagram readiness, but this has always been a wish list balance) but I’m not gonna lie, going from eka pada koundinyasana A to Salabhasana after a bike ride and such was just not happening. I suspect I had a mini-heart attack trying though. That one will take some work. It’s just awkward and frankly I didn’t just love it. I don’t like lotus-y types of poses anyways, prob cuz they’re so damn good for you, like gross veggies.

The main balances we covered were  Eka Pada Galavasana (with full expression into flying crane), Salabhasana, Ashtavakrasana, Tittibhasana, Bhujapidasana, and integrated flow sequences. Ashtavakrasana (or 8 angle pose as it’s more commonly known) is most definitely a favorite. It’s from Ashtanga third series, but you actually come into it from a handstand. Eka Pada Galavasana is another favorite of mine. Perching poses are my jam. I am all over that, kids, let me tell you. It was exciting to see how much stronger I’ve gotten in Eka Pada Galavasana since I first learned it. It gave me both hope and a sense of grace for those poses that I’m not as strong in.

One of the more powerful aspects of the class was Christine’s opening discussion of why yoga is so important. Sure it’s great to learn these poses, but the true power is that practicing yoga faithfully transforms your relationships. The more you do it, the more patient and gracious you become to both others and yourself. Call it hokus-pokus voodoo, but any faithful yogi will swear by this truth. It’s a grace giving and recieving practice. Talk about powerful, ammirite?!


ARM BALANCING TIPS:

CONTACT POINTS: know where they are and establish them! Often it’s the elbow creating a shelf.

Chatarunga arms: A vast majority of arm balances incorporate chatarunga arms. Practice a solid chatarunga and be mindful of creating a strong perch for yourself this way.

Shift forward: it’s not as much UP as a slight up and shift forward with you gaze focused ahead of you. I am so series, this tip was a game changer for me back in the day when I started nailing some balances, and guess what? These same tips helped me finally get that freaking firefly pose (sans grace and beauty).

If you have no arm balance experience, have no fear! Many of them are easier than they seem, and getting a strong foundation will take you light years farther than you would imagine. Have faith in yourself, and you’ll be amazed at where you’ll be by this time next year.

Much love!

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