Arm balances can be elusive, and frustrating. They can also be liberating and exciting!
In almost two decades of practice I have learned a few simple truths that can help anyone navigate their arm balance practice with more equanimity.
Secret Number 1: Arm Balances Aren’t Supposed to be Easy
If these poses were easy, they wouldn’t teach us very much at all. The lesson stems from the obstacle. And the obstacle often isn’t what’s going on in the body; the lesson is for the mind.
When something feels next to impossible, pause, observe.
What is the inner dialogue when you realize a pose is out of reach?
Are you giving the pose too much importance?
Remember, we are meaning-makers. If you feel failing to achieve a pose means you aren’t strong, flexible, or fit - that’s the message you receive.
Let the difficulty you experience in a pose be an opportunity to check in with your self-talk during challenge. How you speak to yourself in something as insignificant as an arm balance is likely reminiscent of how you speak to yourself when the stakes are much higher.
Secret 2: The strength is built before you nail the pose.
Yoga empowers us to be process oriented instead of outcome oriented.
When it comes to challenging shapes the body doesn’t get stronger or more
flexible in the pose. The body gets stronger and more flexible on the way to the pose.
So that means we can’t rush the process AND when we acknowledge our progress then we can’t really fail.
Remember, “I win or I learn, I never lose.”
Secret 3: Be patient and let go.
You may not learn how to do side crow quickly. And that’s ok.
You may never learn how to do a handstand, ever.
And that’s also ok. Everything worth learning takes time. And attachment to the process will only trip you up and eliminate the joy in learning.
Go slow and enjoy the ride.