The Crazy Arm-Balance That Sculpts Your Arms and Core

The Crazy Arm-Balance That Sculpts Your Arms and Core

Make sure you bring your sense of humor to the mat for this pose| because if this is your first time giving it a try| you’re probably going to fall over u2014 a lot! Getting all bent out of shape (no pun intended) is not going to help. Go ahead and laugh at yourself| then get right back up and try again. This is the kind of pose where practice makes perfect because the more you try| the stronger and steadier you’ll become| and that my friends| will land you in this pose like a champ. Follow this sequence on one side and then repeat on the other. When you reach the end of the sequence| if you’re worried about face-planting into the hardwood floor| place a folded towel underneath you.

| Fierce

  • Stand with your feet touching at the top of your mat.
  • Bend the knees| lowering the hips into a squat as you raise the arms overhead| pressing palms together.
  • Shift weight into the heels| and gaze at your hands for five breaths.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Side Fierce

  • From Fierce pose| keep the knees bent as you bend the elbows| twisting the torso to the right| crossing the left upper arm over the right thigh.
  • Firmly press the bottom elbow down to lift the torso up| bringing the palms to the center of your chest.
  • Continue to keep weight in your heels as you gaze up and over the right shoulder| holding for five breaths.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Seated Spinal Twist

  • From Side Fierce| keep the twist in the torso as you bend the knees all the way| lowering your hips toward the floor.
  • Extend the left leg out in front of you as your tush hits the mat.
  • Plant your right hand behind you for support and actively press the left elbow against the outer thigh to increase the twist even more.
  • Gaze over the right shoulder| breathing deeply for five breaths.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| One-Legged Lift

  • From the Seated Spinal Twist| release your arms and bring the torso back to center.
  • Grab the right foot with the left hand| and thread your right hand underneath the right knee. Use your left hand to press the foot back. This will help you crawl underneath the knee a little further. Your goal is to get the right knee as high onto the right shoulder as possible.
  • Release the hands to the floor| and actively pull the right heel down to firmly bend your knee around the shoulder.
  • Bend the elbows| fold the torso over the left leg| then straighten the arms| lifting the left leg into the air. If this is too difficult (it takes major core strength)| just keep the left heel on the ground and lift the hips up.
  • Hold wherever you can for five breaths.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Eight Crooked Limbs

  • You can go right into the next pose while you’re lifted in the previous pose| or if your upper body needs a break| go ahead and lower your tush back to the floor.
  • Cross the left ankle over the right ankle.
  • Lift the tush| bend the elbows at 90-degree angles| then straighten the legs out to the right side| keeping the shoulders parallel with the floor.
  • Try to hold for five breaths| then straighten the arms| bend the knees| bring the feet back to center| and sit on the floor.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Knee to Tricep Plank

  • From your seated position| work your way into plank position with the hands underneath the shoulders.
  • Bend the right elbow slightly and bring the right knee forward| resting it on the “”shelf”” made by your arm.
  • Hold here for five breaths| keeping the core strong and the pose steady.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Noose

  • Come back to plank position and step or hop the feet forward between the hands| coming into a low squat.
  • Balancing on the balls of the feet with the feet touching| cross the left elbow over the outer right knee.
  • Either press the palms together for an easier modification| or try to bind around both knees by reaching the right arm around the lower back. Clasp the fingers together| or if you can| hold the right wrist with the left hand.
  • Wherever you are| try to gently shift weight back so you’re resting on both soles of the feet.
  • Gaze over the right shoulder| holding for five breaths.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Crow

  • From Noose pose| release the hands and bring the torso forward. Separate the feet coming into a Wide Squat. Place your palms firmly on the ground in front of you. Be sure to spread your fingers as wide as you can| and press into your fingertips to release any pressure in your wrists.
  • Straighten the legs slightly and place your knees as high up onto your triceps as possible| toward your armpits.
  • Shift your weight forward into your hands| and lean the weight of your knees into the backs of your arms. Lift one foot off the ground and then the other. If you can bring your toes together| you’ll feel more compact| and it’ll be easier to balance. Squeeze your knees together slightly| and pull your belly button in toward your spine to give you a sense of lightness.
  • Stay balanced for five breaths. If you fall| just get back into it!

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Side Crow

  • Now that you’re got the hang of balancing on the arms in Crow| release the feet to the floor| touching the knees and toes together.
  • Rotate your torso to the right| and place both palms flat on the ground| shoulder width apart. They should be perpendicular to your thighs.
  • Spread your fingers as wide as you can| and begin to shift to the right| putting some of your weight into your hands. Your outer right knee is going to rest on your left elbow| and your outer right thigh (close to your hip) is going to rest on your right elbow. Think of your arms as the legs of a table| and your left thigh is the tabletop.
  • Try to keep your knees together as you shift all your weight into your hands and slowly lift your feet off the floor.
  • It’s OK if you lose your balance and fall over. Just keep trying until eventually you can hold this pose for five even breaths.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography