All posts filed under: arm balances

Nail Your Handstands & Forearm Balances

My mentor and teacher Kino MacGregor is a yogini extraordinaire. Her handstands are like whoa! Actually, I think all of her asanas (poses) are ah-maaaaa-zing, but those handstands! OMG those handstands! SO fabulous! It came as a huge surprise to me when Kino confessed handstands are her weak point, literally. She’s naturally more flexible than she is strong, and she loses strength easily and has to work hard to build it back up. The fact that Kino has Mere Mortal Syndrome is both a huge relief and also tremendously inspiring. She has perfect inversions, because she trains to have perfect inversions. The take away: you can nail any asana with diligence and consistency. I’m still working on building up strength so that I can easily do my handstands and forearm balances even after doing a million vinyassas during my practice, but I’ve learned a lot after training with Kino both one on one and also in various yoga intensives. I wanted to share some of her knowledge. Another great way to get handstand training is …

Give Me All the Upside Downs (Inversions!)

I love inversions. I mean, honestly I’m like a little monkey when it comes to certain asanas. While inversions bring both levity and varity to your flow, they also build upper body strength. This is a major plus, since a great deal of our yoga work is more from the core down.  In addition to being (in my oh so humble opinion) ridiculously fun, inversions have major health benefits.To clarify, an inversion is any asana (pose) where the head is below the heart. Here are just a small handful of the significant health benefits of inversions: 1. Reverses blood flow and improves circulation: this in itself is a huge heart-helper, because the heart spends all day long pumping blood against gravity to get blood to the body’s limbs. By getting yourself upside down, it actually takes strain off the heart. 2. Gives a great boost the the immune system: going upside-down allow lymph to move easily through the lymph nodes, picking up toxins and bacteria and cleaning out the body. The lymph system is an …

How to Do Vasisthasana |Side Plank

Vasisthasana is one of those fabulous asanas that’s a one stop shop arm balance. Not only will you get an intense ab workout that targets those often neglected obliques, but it tightens the entire core. It’s such a great pose, that it’s been borrowed by non-yoga workouts as a secret weapon for keeping abs tights and the waist small. It primarily strengthens entire core, but it also targets the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus in the hips, as well as the adductor muscles located in the inner thigh. But wait! There’s more! The secondary the side plank also works several other muscles that provide additional stability as you hold the position including the gluteus maximus, the quadriceps on the front of your thighs and the hamstrings on the back of your thighs. TIPS: Keep your shoulders, hips, knees and feet in one straight diagonal line, Important: make sure your neck and head continue the line of your spine. Keep obliques pulled up up up at all times to avoid hips collapsing. HOW TO: From downward facing down, come …

How to Do: Side Crow into Eka Pada Koundinyasana

Bakasana (or Crow pose) is usually the first pose that most people learn, but I actually like side crow even better. It flows so perfectly with a typical vinyasa practice, and not only do you get the benefits of core strengthening, but you also get the detoxing, cleansing effects of a side twist. What?! #winning! Another added perk is you get to start adding more transitioning poses and start building up your yoga practice. The Koundinyasana pose is optional, and you can add it on just as easily as leave it out. Tips: 1) Warm up with your sun salutations (review here) and crow (review here)  to get in your flow. 2) Have good contact points! Firmly connect those chatarunga arms to your legs. The key points are close to the hip and the side of the knee. 3) Use chatarunga arms as a platform to get into the pose. 4) Make a triangle of your two hands and gaze focused in front of hands. 5) Spread fingers wide! This will really help with balancing. …

Learn: Crow to Headstand (and back again!)

Oh, Bakasana, how we love you! Bakasana (crow to those who want to keep it simple) is definitely that elusive arm balance that introduces us into the addictive world of arm balances. I’m an arm balance junkie, and I just love love love any arm balance; the more pretzel like the better! You can take crow up a notch by learning to go from crow into a tripod headstand (and back down again!) Not only will you work your core like a BAMF, but it’s a pose that’s credited for soothing anxiety, depression, and all manner of ailments. All I can say is it is just goddamn fun. 1. SET UP IS EVERYTHING! Everything! Arm balances are built on foundations we set up. There are many ways to get into crow, but we’ll start with a basic yoga crouch. Hands out about 6-8 inches in front of you with those FINGERS spread out. 2. Hike up on your haunches and place your knees as close into your armpits as possible and form chatarunga arms. SHIFT FORWARD. …

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)