Arm Balances give strength to your upper body for independent living as you age and make your core strong to hold you up in good balance. The combination of osteoporosis with poor balance reflexes can lead to falls and broken bones (wrist, shoulder, and hip fractures are most common), with potentially life-threatening consequences as you age. Due to upper body weakness many seniors can’t even open heavy doors or carry their own grocery bags. Arm Balancing Yoga Poses will help prevent these issues.
Arm Balances can be challenging so they are often the favorite category of poses to “forget” to practice. One reason arm balances are so challenging is they require both strength and flexibility. You may be very strong but still not be able to do arm balances if you don’t have the necessary flexibility. And yet excellent flexibility is no guarantee of success if you don’t have the needed upper body and torso strength.
Many people, especially women, come to yoga weak in the upper body. This weakness may be due to a lifelong lack of regular work with the arms, shoulders, chest, and abdomen. Unfortunately, the weakness usually progresses as the decades go by and is often a factor in loss of independent living skills. Over many years, the lack of hard work that challenges the upper body muscles and bones also contributes to loss of mineralization in those bones—osteoporosis—which can be a serious health problem.
So the practice of poses that include weight bearing on the arms is a good idea to help prevent osteoporosis as well as to build upper body strength. Arm balances develop core strength, keep the bones sturdy and sharpen mental discipline. Even practicing the simplest Arm Balance Poses daily at home such as Down Dog, Plank, Vastistasana with the top leg on the floor, Purvottanasana, Bridge, and Chaturanga from the elbows held to build up time in them will give you the arm and core strength plus the flexibility to keep you balanced and independent through your Golden Years.
More challenging Arm balances give you great gratification when performed and can give frustration when not fully accomplished. In this way they are the perfect poses to practice persistence in the face of challenge, as well as practicing non-attachment to the fruits of your labors or the limitations of your mind! These are yet more great strengths to cultivate as we age into enlightenment!
Join us this week at Lake Center Yoga and open your hip flexors in creatively sequenced classes with Arm Balance Poses. Yoga Sutra 1.12 will support you in detaching from any limitations of the mind and keep you in the space of spontaneity and possibility not only in class but in life!