The Question: Are there any poses that will build my upper body or core strength? I want to learn to invert and rock some arm balances but so far there is no luck. ~ Becky
Ahh, arm balances and inversions—my FAVORITE! When I first started yoga, they kind of intimidated me, but I eventually became semi-obsessed with doing them. They’re fun and challenging, and they add an incredibly cool spin to the average flow of a yoga class.
To tell you the truth, every single posture in the “yoga book” can serve as preparation to go upside down or float on your hands. They all provide interesting ways to learn about how your body works, where your strengths are, and what you need to exercise more.
More specifically, Planks, Side Planks, Chaturangas—basically anything that makes your belly burn is muy bueno.
Bottom line: try not to approach these poses with anxiety or fear. Don’t worry about falling or your face or getting hurt. Know that you’re strong enough, and if you’re body strength doesn’t match the strength of your heart and your mind, that’s a great place you can start. Find a sense of release and relaxation.
Breathe a little bit more. Be playful. Be curious.
Overall, practice makes practice. Work on your arm balances. Work on your inversions. Maybe after ten or a hundred or ten hundred times you try to kick up into a Handstand or take on a crazy arm balance and actually stick it. Maybe you don’t. That’s the BEAUTY of it!
Every time you attempt a challenging pose, you should be learning something about yourself and your practice, whether your alignment is perfect or not. Try not to think of an end goal when it comes to your yoga practice—it’s not about that. It’s about the journey of it all, what you learn along the way.