Arm balancing poses in yoga have been my nemesis ever since I began practicing more than 4 years ago. Most people in class get into crane without any difficulty or effort. Not for me. I barely can get my toes off the ground for 3 seconds without toppling over. In December when I did Grow Soul Beautiful’s #YogaADay Challenge, I cringed at posting this picture.
I was lucky enough to get one decent pic with my feet off the floor all thanks to a fast shutter speed. I vowed then and there that I would make it a point to work on my arm balances and inversions. Very fitting since this year my intention is to find balance in my life.
I know what my problem is – fear. Fear of falling flat on my face and breaking my nose. Fear of my wrists breaking from under weight. Knowing that I have difficulty with crane, I approach the pose with anxiety – I hold my breath and tense up. All things that do not help at all in achieving anything, particularly a yoga pose.
According to Yoga Journal and my new yoga teacher, it’s not about having enough strength in your arms and core. Sure you need strength to hold the pose but it’s mostly about relaxing and opening the body specifically the hips and groin. If you can hold plank or Chaturanga Dandasana (4-limbed staff pose) you have enough strength. I’ve got no problem with those two poses. Essentially, it’s about letting go of fear and relaxing. Obviously something I need to work on.
There are a few poses that are suggested to help achieve opening of the hips and safely rounding the back since arm balances are so compact. You want to be able to practically roll yourself into a ball.
To release tension in the hips and legs, these poses are suggested:
Since I’ve begun to focus on improving my arm balances (focusing on crane as a starting point), I have noticed a slight difference. Relaxing, breathing and looking forward rather than down have helped. I have also begun to be less harsh on myself. If I try to hard, it’s not going to happen. It’ll happen one day and when it does I’ll probably fall right out of the pose because I’ll be so shocked and happy!
Do you have a nemesis pose in yoga or any other activity?