The Vinyasa Show Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 5

Courageous Arm Balancing

30 min - Practice


The key to any balancing posture is a steady focus, curiosity, and a drop of humility. We start with warming up our core with abdominal strengthening, and then flow into Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) with Vashistasana (Side Plank) and Bakasana (Crow Pose), progressively building to Visvamitrasana (Sage Pose). You will feel challenged and strong.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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(waves lapping) So hello and welcome back. We are gonna have a little bit of fun today with some arm balancing and couple of surprises at the end. Do what you can. Have fun with it. If you fall, awesome, try it again and again and again and enjoy.

So we will start in any comfortable seat. Let the hands rest. Find a really tall spine and let's close the eyes for a moment. So really key to any balancing posture is a steady focus by drawing all of your awareness and your energy to a singular point. So before we begin to move we will take just about a minute or so in a very simple meditation.

(breathes slowly) drawing the focus to the breath and shedding as much as possible the thinking mind. So all that stuff that's kind of swimming around in there, we set it aside as much as possible for the time-being and just tune into the physical body, tune into and connect with the rise and fall of the breath. (breathing slowly and steadily) and then let's take the hands to prayer at the heart center set an intention for curiosity and exploration and how about a little humility and a soft bow forward. (breathing) Okay and then go ahead and let the eyes open and let's come on up to the hands and the knees. Then walking the hands forward a little bit, inhale, tuck the toes, and exhale let's press right up and back into downward facing dog, Adho Mukha Shvanasana, 10 breathes here, anything you want.

Paddle the feet, shake it out. You can drop back on to the hands and knees and play with cat cow instead. You can drop into child's pose, just tuning in, (breathing) checking in and arriving in the body in whatever way feels best for you. About five more breaths. (inhaling and exhaling slowly) Shake anything out that may need it.

Soft through the neck, soft through the jaw, one more big inhale. (inhales slowly) And let's open the mouth, exhale. (exhales noisily through mouth) And then we are gonna hop right through to sit and lie down on the back. Here we go. When you arrive, hug the knees in towards the chest and kind of rock the body a little side to side.

So really nice support for some arm balancing poses is the strong core. So let's warm it up a little bit. Simple bicycle. Draw the knees to about a 90 degree angle and interlace the hands behind the head. And then lift the head and the chest above the earth, take an inhale here and as you exhale, twist towards the right knee with that left elbow and extend your left leg, then inhale, go ahead and come back to center and exhale go to the left.

Extend the right leg, inhale center, slow and steady is actually gonna do more work then whipping through it and just using your momentum. Inhale back to center and exhale to the left. Center to the right. Center left, just a couple more to each side. We really just want to say hello to the core.

Make sure it is engaged. And to the left. Good and then again to the right. Stay here and extend your left arm, holding five, four, three, belly in and up, two, back to center, inhale and exhale to the left. Belly in and up, holding five, four, three, two, and one.

Okay come back to center. Hug the knees into the chest, kind of rock it a little and then we'll take the legs straight up to the sky. So the energy, the emphasis here is lifting from the tailbone up through the balls of the feet. Really strong especially through the deep lower belly okay? So to start, just take the arms alongside the body and as you exhale, pull the belly in and up and lift from the tailbone straight up.

Nice and simple and again. And again and stay with this again moving with control, belly drawing in and up. Let's do 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, squeeze it in, three, two, and one, all right. That's it. Rock and roll all the way up on to the hands and the knees.

Shoot the legs back, Vinyasa, lower on the exhale, inhale take the heart up and pause. Take a huge inhale into the belly, (inhales) exhale, go back to downward facing dog, take a big inhale here. (inhales) Let it go, exhale. (exhales slowly) and then inhale just walk the feet forward into Uttanasana, standing forward fold and give yourself a few breaths just to let it all drop and release. (breathing slowly) Three.

(breathing slowly) Two. (breathing slowly) or as you are ready, soft bend in the knees and slowly with the inhale, roll yourself all the way up to stand. Exhale, roll the shoulders down, step the feet together, hands to prayer at the heart center. Take a big inhale. (inhales) Ground on the exhale.

(exhales) And then inhale sweep the arms out and up. (inhales) Exhale, bow out and down warming the body a little with a few sun salutes inhale, take it halfway, exhale hop or step back and feel free to lower knees first or Chaturanga depending on how warm you are for the practice. Inhale, just a soft cobra or upward dog and exhale back into downward facing dog, breathing here for three. (breathing) Long spine. (breathing) Soft neck, two.

(breathing slowly) And then soft bend of the knees with the exhale, hop or step to the front of the mat. Inhale halfway (inhales) exhale back into your fold (exhales) and then inhale come all the way up. (inhales) Exhale hands to prayer at the heart. Let's do that again. Inhale, take it out and up.

(inhales) Exhale go ahead and fold forward. (exhales) Inhale just halfway, long spine. (inhales) Exhale again hop or step back and lower knees first or Chaturanga. Inhale, cobra or upward dog. And exhale downward facing dog.

Three breaths sending heels to the earth, lifting through the sit bones. (breathing slowly in and out) Bottom of the exhale, soft bend in the knees, hop or step forward. Inhale, lengthen and exhale fold. (exhales) Inhale come all the way up, reach through the fingertips exhale hands to prayer at heart center. And then last one, inhale, take it up.

(inhales) Exhale, bow and fold. (exhales) Inhale length and come hallway up. Exhale hop or step into plank and pause for a moment here. Hit strong through the center, step the feet together, root the right hand, Vasisthasana, nice and simple. We will get a chance to revisit this.

So for now, just the classic variation. Lift that left arm up to the sky, maybe follow it with a gaze. Holding steady for three, (breathing) two (breathing) exhale, return to plank pose and shift to the other side. Root the left hand, spin to the outer edge of the left foot, stacking the feet if possible. You can always lower the left knee or come on to the forearm if it is too much weight on the wrist holding three, (breathing) two then exhale returning to plank pose.

You choose, take a big inhale here and exhale either through the Vinyasa or press it straight back into downward dog. (breathing) And again a couple of breaths. (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) And soft bend in the knees, bottom of the exhale, hop or step forward. Inhale, lengthen halfway. Exhale, bow and fold and from here let's bend the knees and inhale come into Utkatasana chair pose.

Thinking down through the sit bones energy all the way out through the length of the arm, shake out the wrist a little bit and either keep the palms open or press the palms together, maybe even clasp the hands and release the index finger and let's hold for three building a little more heat. Two, (breathing) and then as you exhale come into Ardha Utkatasana, just as parallel to the earth, hollow out the belly drop back through the hips, reach out through the arms and then keep this as you inhale extend your arms out wide exhale, draw them forward warming the shoulders. Inhale our wide (inhales), exhale in (exhales). Inhale, open it (inhales), exhale in, take a couple of more big inhale. (inhales) and exhale (exhales).

This time, inhale reach it back, interlace the fingers and exhale fold foreword. You can open the feet a little bit wider. And a good five breaths here. Soft through the neck. (slow breathing) The arms and the shoulders obviously work really hard for us in arm balances.

Just taking a moment here to stretch it out and breath into it. (slow noisy breathing) Three. (slow noisy breathing). Two. (slow noisy breathing).

And then one with the exhale let the arms float down, release the hands to the earth. Heel to the feet together inhale halfway up and exhale again half or simply step into plank pose. So here we go. Back into Vasisthasana. Again any modifications or classic pose, stack the feet, root the right hand, left arm up.

If you want to stay here, please feel free. You can also play with taking the left foot into tree pose or you might grab that left big toe and extend the left leg straight up to the sky. If you are steady, try lifting the gaze and hold for three. (breathing) two, gently with control, exhale release, come on back into plank pose, center yourself for a moment, belly in and up and see how the second side feels. Root the left hand, stack the feet, right arm up.

You are always free to stay right here maybe right foot to the thigh for tree variation. Maybe find that big toe and extend the right leg up to the sky, follow with the gaze if you are steady. Three. (breathing slowly) Two and exhale return to plank, again listen to the body through the Vinyasa or straight back. (breathing slowly) Take a big inhale (inhales), let it all go with the exhale.

(exhales) and then hop or step to the front of the mat, inhale, lengthen halfway, exhale, simply fold. Or stay here open the feet about hips distance and slide your hands under your feet, toes, against the wrist, palm facing up for Padahastasana. Really sweet release for the wrists with all that arm balancing. Inhale lengthen it halfway and exhale go ahead and fold, soft through the neck. (breathing slowly) Pressing down through the balls of the feet.

(breathing slowly) Three. (breathing slowly) Two. (breathing slowly) one more breath. (breathing slowly) And then keep the hands where they are. If you can inhale just come halfway up (inhales) and then exhale go ahead and release and let the hands and the wrist shake out a little bit.

All right moving into Bakasana crow pose. Let's start really simply in a bit of a squat. (breathing) Rooting down through the hands and then lift the hips, take the weight forward into the hands making that shelf with the upper arms. Look forward and pick up the feet. If you are new to the pose, and it is freaking you out, you can definitely put a few pillows underneath the face.

That way if you fall, it won't hurt. Pull the belly in and up, lift, lift, lift for three (breathing), two, and either shoot the legs back or just step back. And through the flow, (breathing slowly) downward facing dog, take a few breaths, reset. (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) All right let yourself settle. Come on back to center.

Go on a little adventure here. Please listen to the body. Pause at any stage along the way that feels like your edge. No forcing it. So nice and simple to begin.

We are just gonna take the right foot forward between the hands and then lower the back, knee down to the earth, and walk the right foot out to the right a little bit. Then release down on to the forearms and elbows, okay? Then begin to crawl the right shoulder underneath behind the right knee and plant your right hand down on the earth okay so to work with some stages of this posture, we are gonna start by spinning that left foot on a perpendicular to the rest of the body making a little bit of a kickstand out of that back leg, and one option is to stay here, begin to pick up that right leg pressing into the right hand. Try taking the outer edge of the right foot here and then slowly begin to extend the right leg and simultaneously roll the torso open okay? That's step one.

If you are up for full extension of the back leg to get back down, tuck the back toes, spin the back heel down, like Vashistasana here and strong through that right hand right arm, pick up the right leg, transfer the weight to the right hand, take hold of the foot again and start to extend out again opening through the torso, let it tremble, let it wobble, feel free to fall, three, (breathing) two, and then unwind, place the foot back down, place the left hand back down, then take the right hand outside of the right foot again from under the knee and just stab it back to downward dog, shake out the right leg a little when you get there and take a few breaths. (breathing slowly) If you loved it, awesome, if you hated it, awesome. Just let it go. (exhales) See if the second side feels any different. As you are ready, left foot comes forward, go ahead and lower the back knee down.

Both hands inside as the foot walks out a little bit. And then crawl the left shoulder underneath that left knee, plant your left hand. Let's spin the right foot make that kickstand with the back leg and then transfer the weight to the left hand, pick up that left foot, grab it with the right hand and maybe that's it. Maybe you extend a little. Maybe you got full extension with that left leg, really doesn't matter either way.

Just find your own edge. (breathing) And please feel free to stay there or if you want to try full extension, tuck the back toes, lift that back knee and root through the foot and then again we transfer the weight to the left. Pick up the left foot and grab it with the right hand, reaching out for three (breathing slowly) two, (breathing) and one root it back to the earth, unwind that left hand, left arm and stab it back again, downward dog. A few breaths again letting it all go, notice what comes up when we are working with challenging poses, (breathing slowly) again and again back to center and breathe. (breathing slowly) Soft through the neck and then just nice and easy coming all the way through to sit.

(breathing slowly) From here Upavistha Konasana with those wide open inner thighs. So you want your legs wide enough to feel the stretch but not so much that you are trembling and suffering. Right that middle path and let's start with the hands behind the hips press and root down to lengthen the spine. So for some of us, just staying upright with the tall spine is challenging. If that's the case then stay there.

Otherwise hands come forward and we will walk out. (breathing slowly) And when you feel like you are at your edge, plant the hands, inhale, pull the earth towards you (inhales) and then exhale go ahead and go ahead and just release. (exhales) maybe on to the forehead, maybe on to a block if you have one handy. (breathing slowly) Five breaths. (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) Three.

(breathing slowly) Two. (breathing slowly) Then one. With your inhale, begin to walk it back in, exhale, grounding here and then inhale take both arms up to the sky. Lift the heart and the gaze and exhale. Let's start with the right hand outside that right leg, reach the left arm up and over, extending out through the fingertips.

If this is your edge, beautiful. Just stay with it. If you like you can take right arm inside the right leg, reach it out. Left arm keeps extending up and over, try not to let the torso roll down. You want to keep turning belly, heart, rib-cage, up, up, up towards the sky.

Maybe left hand finds the toes. No big deal either way and three more breaths. (breathing slowly) Keep the left sit bone heavy providing that counter weight. One more breath. (breathing slowly) And then inhale, take it all the way back to center.

Arms go up. And exhale, left hand down. You can keep it outside the leg. If things are a little tighter here or left arm slides inside right arm finds the toes maybe, maybe not. And rolling open, heavy right sit bone.

(exhales) Three. (exhales) Two. (exhales) And one, beautiful, inhale, come all the way up. (inhales) Exhale, let the arms flow down letting it all go. Use your hands behind and under the thighs to support, drawing the legs together and lie down.

(exhales) And tuck the knees in, rock it a little side to side soft through the low back. Take a big inhale and exhale release. (exhales) Shavasana. Let it all go. Whatever showed up, whatever was possible.

(breathing slowly) And give it all the way now and let yourself restore. The body, mind, heart, subtle body. Just rest. (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) (breathing slowly) And deepening breath. (breathing slowly and deeply) Drawing the awareness back with an inhale, extend the arms up and over.

(inhales) Exhale bend the knees, roll to the right. (exhales) Come on back up. (breathing slowly) That's it. Again together for just a few breaths. (breathing slowly) Hands rest, spine tall, close the eyes, feel the shift in energy notice how you feel throughout the whole body.

(breathing slowly) Then take the hands to prayer at the heart and with an exhale, just as soft bow forward to close the practice. (breathing) Namaste. Thank you so much for playing. If arm balancing is new to you, just go slowly, be patient. They definitely evolve over time.



Wonderful teacher. Love the video, but unfortunately too advanced for me. Something to thrive for!
Rosemary Garrison
Thanks! If you stay with it, let me know how it goes!
Kate M
1 person likes this.
This was so much fun! I feel so happy and energized!! You are a very gifted teacher. I really love your creative and intelligent sequencing!
Rosemary Garrison
Thank you, Kate! You made my day. ; ) We just filmed seven 45 minute flow sequences... they should be live soon. I hope you enjoy them!
Marina L
2 people like this.
Love this! More upper body strengthening please!

Really appreciate the good, long savasana.
Rosemary Garrison
Thanks, Marina ! I hear you on the upper body strengthening. I'll keep in mind for upcoming livestream classes and future series we work on. Be safe, be well. 
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Rosemary, for this great practice! It was a bit hard for me, especially the sage pose, but I feel very calm and good after it! Kind regards! ❤️
Rosemary Garrison
It makes me smile to hear you felt calm and good afterwards, Sandra Židan . That's what it's all about! Namaste. 

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