Yoga Arm Balance Tips

How to do yoga arm balances

Here are some resources and general guidelines to help develop your yoga arm balance practice. These guidelines are not absolutes as there are always variations with individuals. Remember that it’s the journey that matters and that there are no secrets, only little by little incremental work with regularity.

How do I practice/drill these poses?

The best way to approach arm balances is to separate the component parts and practice them separately. Here are three poses per pose you can practice. Practicing the arm balance requires combining these actions into one tough pose. Include these poses in your practice regularly to help develop your arm balances.
Crow Pose:
  1. Navasana
  2. Plank/Chaturanga
  3. Malasana Squat or Child’s Pose or Cat Pose
Side Crow Pose:
  1. Navasana 
  2. Chair Pose Twist
  3. Chaturanga

What are my shoulders doing?

They are essentially working some variation of plank or chaturanga. In plank, slight shoulder blade spread and press of floor away, in chaturanga elbows move in and shoulder blades pull down the back and slightly together.

Are there different ways to do bakasana? 

Bakasana variations. Simply make the shape of bakasasana from these starting points.
  1. On your back. Draw knees in and lift head and shoulders with arms reaching up.
  2. On your bum from navasana. Widen knees in and reach arms forward.
  3. On your bird perch – one brick or 2-3 blocks. Bring hands to ground and attach knees to upper arms. The extra height will make the pose more accessible.
  4. No props or variations – just go for it with one foot or two feet up.


How do I set up parsva bakasana (side crow)?

  1. Start in knees together, heels up squat in the center of your mat
  2. Turn your knees all the way to face the left edge of your mat
  3. Keep chest facing forward and bring hands down as they would be set up for plank
  4. Bring only the left arm to touch the outside of right thigh as low down as you can get
  5. Come on to your toes to lift hips as high as you can
  6. Bend the elbows back like chaturanga to make a shelf on the left arm
  7. Tip weight forward and down to lift bum and feet up
  8. Once happily up, straighten right arm and twist more to right