Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Arm Balance Yoga Sequence: Yoga Poses for Gaining Strength in Arms
The most challenging part in all the asanas is mastering the art of balancing the entire body on the arms or the shoulders. It is not on the flexibility of the body alone to hold or remain balanced in a pose, but the art of breathing smoothly while holding the body in a particular pose. No doubt the strength of the shoulders, arms and wrists are essential, but learning to also align the body well in any particular pose is most important.
Given below is the sequence for slowly building the arms, starting from warming up, like in Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), following it up with a gentle opening of the elbows, and finally moving to the wrists and shoulders. Selecting from the drop down lists is the Arm Balance Poses, let's go step-by-step with the sequence.
Arm Balance Yoga Sequence: Yoga Pose for Gaining Strength in Arms: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions
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A. Begin with warming up of the body, with the practice of 11step sequence of Surya Namaskar.
B. Start in Tadasana, taking a few breaths to get connected to the body. Then inhale and raise your arms up in Urdhva Hastasana, looking up at the stretched arms.
C. Then exhale and go forward with the torso and reach for the feet with the arms, in Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Pose, placing the palms close to the feet and bring the face as close to the shin as possible.
D. Inhale and raise the head and chest up in Ardha Uttanasana, while the hands still remain close to the feet. Feel the stretch at the hamstrings and the chest.
E. Exhale and taking both the feet behind, bring the body down towards the floor, but not touching the floor and balance the body on the elbows and the shoulders while the palms rest close to the chest on the floor in Chaturanga Dandasana. Feel the stretch at the chest, elbows and the abdominal area or the core.
F. Inhale and lift the chest up taking the entire torso in an upwards back bend in Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, while bringing the arms stretched out completely, but still remaining close to the floor with the lower part of the body. Feel the stretch at the lower back and the arms.
G. Exhale, take the torso downwards, while taking the chest towards the floor and raising the lower back upwards, straightening the legs out while placing the feet firm on the floor in Adho Mukha Svanasana. Feel the stretch at the hamstrings and the shoulders.
H. Inhale and go back to the step in D, in Ardha Uttanasana.
I. Exhale and go back to the step in C, in Uttanasana.
J. Inhale and go back to the step B, in Urdhva Hastasana.
K. These 11 steps should be done in 3 pairs or 6 rounds to slowly warm up the entire body feeling the stretch at each pose, while focusing on the breathing.
A. Moving from the warm up in Surya Namaskar, a gentle opening of the shoulders supporting the elbows becomes essential for better looking strong arms.
B. Hence as you stand in Tadasana, exhale and go down to Adho Mukha Svanasana, and from here, place the elbows on the floor, spreading all the fingers out on the floor and bring the chest deep inwards towards the floor.
C. Remain in this pose, Catur Svanasana, for about 4 breaths, and as you exhale go deeper with the chest down towards the floor, while taking the lower back upwards.
D. This simple pose will gradually open the shoulder blades, contracting the muscles around the upper back and the chest.
E. Don't push hard with the neck and the shoulders, let go of the tensions around the neck and the shoulders while understanding the movement of the shoulders and the chest.
F. Placing the elbows firm on the floor, pull the tummy in and slowly bring the chest closer in, with every exhalation, while with every inhalation keep the entire body lose.
A. Gaining strength slowly at the shoulders, go down with the variation of the Plank Pose, in Plank Pose II Dolphin Arms.
B. Release from Catur Svanasana, and as you exhale go lower with the body closer to the floor while supporting the body on the elbows, in Phalakasana II.
C. This pose requires more stamina and strength to hold the spine in a slight inclined position, while testing the shoulder strength.
D. Using the core strength, tighten the muscles around the abdomen, the hamstrings, the quadriceps, the chest, the shoulders and the arms.
E. Remain here for about 20 seconds with 4 rounds of inhalation and exhalation. While you go ahead and leave the body light in inhalation, at exhalation stretch the body out making sure the alignment of the body is perfect with the floor and the shoulders.
F. Watch for the neck muscles and make sure they are not kept too tight as this would not support the shoulders and the arms to remain in this pose comfortably.
A. Taking the challenge further to gain confidence with the arms and the shoulders, the sequence goes deeper with the strengthening of the arms.
B. Moving from Phalakasana II, stretch the arms out completely, and while still remaining in the Plank Pose, inhale and raise the right arm in front of you at shoulder level, gazing down.
C. Before raising the right arm out in front of you, adjust the left arm and place it at the centre just below the chest, in order to get a better balance of the body.
D. Bring the body to the centre and don't make the mistake of moving the weight towards the left side of the shoulders completely, as this would work wrong on the hips and the lower back.
E. Here in One Arm Plank, remain for about 3 breaths initially and then in the second round of the practice of the sequence go for about 4 rounds or more.
F. With every exhalation, stretch the body out while still remaining in alignment with the shoulders and the wrists. Extend the right arm out completely, but slowly understanding the body movement with the breath.
G. This pose needs tremendous sense of balance with the body, and if one finds this pose a big challenge, one could go down on the elbows and stretch the opposite arms out.
H. Using the wall for supporting the feet will also help to maintain the body in balance.
A. Going into a little and less challenging pose, in order to help relax the shoulders a bit is, the Forearm Side Plank Pose.
B. Moving from One Arm Plank, turn the torso and bring the feet one above the other turning towards the right side and balance the body on the left forearm.
C. Take a few breaths here, supporting the body while placing the right hand on the floor. When comfortable, inhale and raise the right arm up slowly understanding the movement of the body.
D. Using the core muscles, tighten the tummy and stretch the entire body, and with every exhalation move the forearms close to the floor and stretch the right arm out gazing up.
E. Make sure the back is straight and feel the stretch at the forearms and the shoulders. Remain here for about 6 breaths and if balancing is difficult, then one could look in front and not take the gaze upwards.
F. Keep the entire body light here and don't stress the elbows too much.