Discover Arm Balancing Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 5

Wrist-Friendly Bakasana

30 min - Practice


Allison guides us through a skillful arm balance practice to give our wrists a rest and explore different perspectives. We play with rotating Bakasana into supine, standing, and squatting positions, moving through slow, controlled sequences challenging our balance and strength with the support of props, before closing in restorative shapes. You will feel stable and focused.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Blanket, Block (2)

About This Video


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So welcome back. I'm very excited to share this practice with you. It's a skillful arm balance practice without weight bearing on the wrist. And so I've designed this practice so that whatever is going on with your wrist, that it doesn't limit your scope of practice. And so your practice can continue to be fun and dynamic without necessarily having to deal with wrist issues. And it can also be a nice change of pace if you want to admit being on your hands. So for today's practice, you'll grab two blocks, a blanket and a bolster or a cushion or a pillow. If you have a stack of blankets, you can also use that in lieu of the bolster. So you'll make your way down onto your mat, have your blocks nearby because we'll use them as well. And stretch your legs out in front of you. Take your arms overhead. Grab your right wrist with your left hand and cross your right ankle over your left ankle. And then squeeze into the legs as you gently pull on the wrist, just a little bit giving it a little bit of traction. And then side bend over to the left so that your left side waist becomes compact. And if you notice that the back of the rib cage and the back of your pelvis is coming closer together than the front, see if you can almost do a little bit of a forward bend, bringing the front of your rib cage closer to the top of your pelvis. So it sort of evens out that sensation that it doesn't feel like the side bend is isolated to the left side body, to the back of the left side body. And then come back through center, hold on to your left wrist, uncross your ankles, take your left ankle on top of your right ankle and side bend over to the right. And again, check in. Notice that the back waist feels like it's more condensed than the front and see if you can even it out just by pulling the front ribs a little bit down towards the floor. And then on an inhalation, return to center, release your arms, uncross your ankles and place the soles of your feet onto the floor. So this might be a little bit challenging. So have fun with it. Grab your blocks. Okay. And you'll come into a tabletop position. So you lift your shins up so that they're about parallel with the floor. And then you'll use the blocks and you'll balance your blocks on your shins. And so what I love about this is that it is a little reminder of Ekapada Bakasana, so that one legged crane pose. And because the blocks are on the shins, it creates this laser like focus that's required in arm balances. So okay, you will balance your blocks and that might take a little while to set up. Okay. And then once you feel like you've got it, maybe bring your hands up into tabletop, pull the fingertips back any amount. And then you could stay here. So there's this connection of the front ribs moving down towards the top of your hips and the top of your hips gently pulling up towards the ribs. This is where it gets really exciting. So you take your right leg and very slowly write that laser like focus, start to bring your right leg forward any amount. Try not to lose the block, but it's totally okay if you do. And mine is gone. Okay. And then you pull the right leg back in. And then you do the same thing with the left side. And I can feel I can perceive those wobbles from side to side.

Okay, straighten the left leg any amount. So you think of it, you're in Bakasana, you're in crane pose. And then you're slowly reaching that leg back to make it Ekapada Bakasana. And then can you slowly bring that left leg back in? Okay. And then from there, you'll remove your blocks. Hopefully you had a little bit of fun with that. So from here we'll come into Supine Bakasana. You'll draw your knees in towards your chest. Okay, bring the inner edges of your feet to touch, take your arms up, you can pull your fingertips back or keep the hands neutral. Then from there, see if you can make contact between the arms and the legs. So you might do that by bringing the arms down towards the knees, or lifting the head and shoulders away from the floor. So wherever you are. Okay, then from here, as if you still have the block over your right shin, that laser like focus, peel the right knee away from the right arm. As you slide the right leg forward, and then pause, and maybe you lift up a little bit more. Okay. And just like the way out, slowly pull the right leg back in, make contact between the right knee and the right arm. Touch the inner edges of the feet, push through the arms or the fingertips, right? So if you want more of a neutral wrist, and then try the other side, keep the contact between the right knee and right arm as you slowly slide your left leg forward. Reach out through the left toes. Lift the shoulders a bit. And then from there, back it up, draw the left leg back. Balance your imaginary block, bokasana. And then from there, release, bring the head and shoulders down, place the soles of the feet down onto the floor, and have the feet about hip bone distance apart. Okay, then from here, draw the frontal ribs down towards the top of your hips, push down through your feet and on an inhalation, lift your hips up and away from the floor. Okay, so it's just a baby bridge, it doesn't have to be very high. And slowly lower the hips back down. Keep the connection between the front ribs and the top of your hips, lift up and back down. Do that one more time. Okay, hold your bridge up, take your arms out to the sides a little bit like cactus arms. And you're going to pull your inner elbows in towards each other. Take the elbows away from each other, draw in. So you're starting to activate the muscles of the chest, draw in and back out. One more time, lift the buttocks, pull the arms in. And then as you exhale, release all the way down, soften your arms. Okay, from here, open up your feet to about as wide as your mat and windshield wiper your legs up, rest your hands wherever they feel comfortable. And then you can stay here with this motion of rocking the leg side to side, or you can add the bridge pose. Okay, so if you're opting for that press down through the feet, lift the hips up any amount. And again, roll to the outer edge of your left foot and the inner edge of your right foot. Come back through center, roll to the outer edge of your right foot and the inner edge of your left foot. And you could add the arms as you do this. And so there's an activating twist quality as you extend your hips. Okay, one more. And next time the knees drop to the right, come back to center, lower the hips down, pull your knees in towards your chest, grab that block again, take your block between the inner knees, you could also take a block between your inner feet as well. I'm gonna hug my feet together. Then from here, take your knees over to the left, lift the shoulders up, lift the hands up. And it's as if you're in this supine bakasana. So I'm not taking my left elbow all the way to the outside. Okay, and I'm not coming into my deepest twist either. Then I come back through center, I try to keep my shoulders incredibly square as the knees move over to the right.

Okay, so finding that counterbalance as the weight of the legs goes to the right, can you press up and then control your knees as they come back through center. Take them over to the left, counterbalance. Bring your knees as far over to the left as possible without falling over to the left. Back through center. And then over to the right. Back through center, we'll do it one more time. So I just want you to be aware that it's not the hands are moving as legs are moving, right? The hands stay steady. Legs move to the left. Back through center. Legs move to the right, hands try not to move at all whatsoever. So that left hand is really pressing forward to keep the steadiness of this position. Back to center. And now release. Place your block aside, roll on over to one side, and then gently come on up. So from here, you'll take your legs out to again about the shorter length of the mat and windshield wiper the legs from side to side. Add a little twist. So there's an active twist. Come back through center, roll like you did before onto the inner and outer edges of the feet and twist. Okay, then from here, squeeze the inner elbows in towards each other so as upright as possible. As you make your way over to the left, pull the elbows out to the sides, turn the body to the left. Back through center, hug the inner elbows in towards each other, stay as upright as possible. Elbows out to the sides. Okay, if you've shifted forward, you'll shift yourself back as I have in my case. This time as I come back through center, okay, I'm going to pause in the center and see if I can hover in a seated bakasana. Bring your hands forward, flex your wrists, extend your wrists. Okay, come down, turn to the side, elbows out to the sides, turn back through center, hover seated bakasana, wrist down, wrist up, back to the right, turn, elbows out to the sides, return to center, a little bit different this time. So again, imagine you have that block on top of the shin, hold the hands out into your bakasana, then slowly reach the right leg forward, tilt the torso slightly back, right, so it counterbalances as your right leg goes forward, your torso tilts back, but now as the right knee comes back, right, the torso comes forward. Then again, left leg reaches out, torso counterbalances, back up, good, then from here drop the feet down, turn to the left, elbows out to the sides. Okay, I'm going to readjust myself and come back through center, elbows in, feet up, one more time, ekapada bakasana, slide the left leg forward, lean back, come back upright, right leg forward, come back up, this time lower your feet down, lower your knees down but try to stay head on, reach the arms forward, seated parjvabakasana, so seated side crane or seated side crow. Okay, back through center, knees up, ekapada bakasana, bakasana, ekapada bakasana, bakasana, feet come down, legs come in together, shoulders stay about where they are, pull the torso up as you push forward through your hands, back through center, bakasana, left leg forward, left knee back in, right leg forward, right leg back in and that is over. Okay, very good, bring the legs out to the sides, lift and lower the legs a little bit like you're flying, right, so a very soaring like class. Okay, now we're going to make our way onto our feet, so come on up to stand however is comfortable for you and stand with your feet about hip bone distance apart, okay, then from here sit your hips back, so move the buttocks back as you bend your knees into an utkatasana shape, okay, you can bring your arms out in front and back through center into tadasana, so each time you bend your knees and your hips think about that compact shape of the arm balance family, okay, so each time just going a little bit deeper and exploring what that feels like being in an upright position. One more, okay, now we're going to add, press down through the balls of your feet, lift your heels up and then with control, lower your heels back down, sit back, utkatasana, rise up onto the balls of your feet, slowly lower them down, sit back, utkatasana, release the arms, okay, we'll review the actions of the shoulder blades very quickly, bring your hands out in front of you palms face down, lift your shoulders up towards your ears, that's elevation, pull the shoulders down away from your ears, depression, draw the shoulder blades towards each other without bending your elbows, retraction, and then broaden the shoulder blades across the upper back protraction, so up, down, shoulder blades together, shoulder blades apart, okay, and then release your hands, all right, for this one have a block nearby, you can have both of your blocks nearby, one on each side of your mat, okay, again, feet or hip bone distance apart, bend your knees, keeping your knees tracking over the third toes, utkatasana, lift your arms up, then take your hands to your hips, shift your weight over to the left foot, and you might take a baby step back a little bit more, or come all the way back with that right foot, keep the left knee bent, start to bend your right knee, so you drop your tail down and lift the front of your pelvis up towards your ribcage, inhale, lift your arms up, then from here, fold forward over the front of your left thigh, take your left elbow or the left back of your arm and bring it in front of your knee and shin, okay, if there's not a lot of space to do that, take a block and do the same thing, can you set up your bakasana arms, okay, if you're a little lower down, the hands will be here, then take your hands to your hips, bring the torso about halfway up, shift forward, and then with one step or multiple steps, come forward and stand up, okay, and we'll do that to the second side, sit back, okay, arms come up, shift the weight into the right foot, okay, and then you can take the left leg back, hands come to the hips, find your lunge, bend the left knee as you bring the torso upright, so the tail is coming down and the abdomen is pulling back, lift the arms up, can keep the bend in the left knee, and then from here, fold forward, take the right elbow in front of the right shin, find your bakasana arms, you also have the option with the block, and then you're pulling the right elbow down into the block, okay, then from there, tilt the torso forward, take the hands to the hips and taking as many steps as you need, step your left foot forward and stand up, okay, so you can repeat that a few times, with every sequence we're going to continue to layer on, okay, so bend the knees, lift the arms, shift the weight into the left foot, step your right leg back, arms sweep down, and then as you're ready, lift the arms overhead, interlace your thumbs, little side bend over to the left, inhale back up, hinge forward, take the left elbow to the front of your shin, find your bakasana arms, then from here, you can have the fingertips down or stay exactly where you are, step your right foot forward, bend both knees, you're a little bit lower in that utkatasana, and it's like a squatting bakasana, okay, then from there, hands to hips, come on up, step your left leg back, sit back, maybe a little bit deeper this time, shift the weight to your right foot, send the left leg back, okay, come on upright, lift your arms up, hook your thumbs, little side bend to the right, press the left ball of the foot down as you lift up and arch over to the right, inhale, come back up, shift forward, take the right elbow in front of the knee, okay, lean, hinge forward, baby steps, one big step, come forward, make contact between the legs and the arms, hands to hips, come on up, okay, another layer, lift your left knee up, any amount, okay, so think of that bakasana relationship, bend your right knee, send the left leg back, find your lunge, lift the arms up, so you're adding more degrees of balance to this sequence, interlace the thumbs, side bend over to the right, pressing down through the left ball of the foot, back up through center, come forward, right elbow to the front of the right shin, hinge forward, get a little bit taller onto that ball of the foot, step it forward, bakasana, hands to the hips, come on up, okay, shift your weight into your left foot, lift the right knee up, any amount, and then start to hinge forward as you step the right leg back, you have to feel your leg in space before the toes make contact, inhale, lift the arms, interlace the thumbs, little side bend, back up through center, lean forward, shift forward, left elbow to the front of the left near shin, little steps, or pull the right leg in, make contact, hands to hips, stand on up, alright, last one, so from here, lift your left leg up, send the left leg back, bend your right knee, lift the arms up, interlace the thumbs, little side bend to the right, inhale back up, now twist, your turn to the right, bring your left arm forward, right arm back, then from here you can stay here, come into more of a passive twist by taking the left elbow to the outside of the right knee, hand on top of hand for anjali mudra, and rotate from behind your heart, okay, parjvabhakasana, yeah, then from here, unwind from your twist, take the right elbow to the front of your right knee or shin, set up your bhakasana arms, step your left foot forward, squatting bhakasana, so you're going to keep the connection between the right elbow and the right front of your near shin, shift your weight over into your left leg, come onto the ball of the right foot, pick that right leg up, standing ekapada bhakasana, okay, and then with control, lower the right leg back down, release your arms, okay, shift your weight over onto the left foot, right knee lifts any amount, think of that right leg shooting back into ekapada bhakasana, slowly reach it back, hinge forward, make contact, inhale, lift your arms up, interlace your thumbs, a little side bend over to the left, inhale back up through center, twist to the left, okay, and you can stay here so it's more of an activating twist, and take your right elbow to the outside of the left leg, left hand on top of right, then from there, unwind from your twist, find ekapada bhakasana, take the left upper arm to the back of your left knee, hands in bhakasana arms, then from there, step your right foot forward, find your bhakasana, then from here, keep the connection between the left knee and the left upper arm, shift onto the right foot, lift onto the ball of your left foot, slowly come on up, ekapada bhakasana standing, and then with control, lower your left leg down, lower your arms, so now we're going to take a cross between warrior 3 and ekapada bhakasana, you're welcome to repeat all of the lunge sequence that we did, but if you want to come into this warrior 3 like arm balance, okay, you're going to grab your block, you'll take your block between your thigh and your elbow again, okay, so the right leg, in this case will be your leg that's coming back for the balance, so you'll squat down a little bit of baby utkatasana, take your elbow to the block, set up your hands, shift your weight into your left leg, then pull the right knee in as much as you can, like you're going to tap, maybe you do tap the arm to the leg, then from there, slowly bring your right leg back, take a breath there, and then just as slowly as you moved out, pull the right leg in, as if you were to touch your right knee to your right arm, maybe you are, and then bring the right foot back down, shift the weight, come on up, okay, other side, bend your knees, take the right elbow to the top of the block, press the block into the thigh by using your arm, okay, set up your hands, little bend of the knees, shift the weight into your right leg, start to pull the left knee up, send the left leg very slowly back, think of balancing that block, maybe the imaginary block is now on the back of the thigh, or the back of your foot, then from there curl back in, left knee towards the left arm, place the left foot back down, and there you have it, yurvajasana 3 and ikapada bakasana, alright, let's wind down, grab your bolster, and take your bolster to the front of your mat, if you want to be elevated, you can take a block underneath the top of your bolster, you can also grab your blanket and use it for your head, but I'm going to use it for my legs, take your left hip, bring your left hip real close to the bolster, take your blanket, moving from the foot up to the inner thigh, and take both, take your right leg on top of your blanket, then from here twist, okay, pull your bolster in or secure it here, as you rest over the bolster, and in a way, this is very much like parjvabha bakasana, right, if you pull the hands back, but since we're winding down, soften your eyes, and take a few breaths here, and slowly take your hands, place them underneath your shoulders and press yourself up, you can always crawl up from the bolster, and it will come on over to the other side, so you'll swivel yourself around, pull your knees on up, turn to the right, pull the bolster in if you need, and recline your torso over the bolster, and your head can be in either direction, a few breaths here, allowing the body to soften and ease into the bolster, and from here, bring your head back through center, you can press into your right forearm, and use your hands, climbing yourself on up, swivel again, this time, take the blanket, place the blanket over the tops of the thighs, give yourself a little grounding sensation after all of that flight, pull yourself back so that the back of the bolster is flush against the back of your hips or your buttocks, and release down, turn the palms to face up, let your legs soften, and your chest is broad, so that this elevated shavasana helps to counter pose all of the bhakasana family actions. And you're welcome to stay here for as long as you'd like. Otherwise, bend your knees, shift your hips over a little bit to one side, as you rest your side body over the bolster, and pressing down through the arm and the forearm, not to sit, you can stay with your blanket over your thighs, and bring your hands together in front of your heart. And I hope that this practice helped to serve you to view arm balancing in a little different light, and hope that this serve to help care for your wrists.


Claudia K
Nice variations. Super core training. Thank you!

Claudia K so glad you enjoyed it! Which one was your favorite variation?

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