Take flight (on your yoga mat)

Arm balances are usually on everyone’s yoga wish list. My gift to you is to show you the steps to take flight on your yoga mat this holiday season. These popular party-trick poses often come up in class as an all-or-nothing proposition. The teacher will say, “If you practice eka pada galavasana, you can take it now.” So how exactly does one get to this point, anyway? (And if you’re wondering what the heck eka pada galavasasa is, read on.)

Very few people get on their mat and practice a perfect arm balance on their first try. The first secret is to break the pose down into steps and stop at the one that challenges you, instead of pushing through what your body is not ready to do (and as we all know… respecting limits is often more of a mental challenge). The other secret is to prepare with pose families that build towards the desired arm balance. First secret, somewhat obvious; the second, not as much.
I’m going to let you in on the second secret for three popular eka pada, or one-legged, poses. There are lots of good prep poses you can practice to make the full pose feel like a piece of cake…eventually! (Third secret = practice patience.) Commit to building up to an advanced asana and allowing it to evolve, instead of being scared away after an unsuccessful attempt.
Do your groundwork before you attempt flight; here’s my how-to on the Athleta Chi
Maybe you’ll even be able to fly for your holiday party trick this year. Wishing you high-flying, happy and healthy holidays.