ohpayk

Hand Stand And Arm Balance Questions

11 posts in this topic

I recently started training for inversions and I notice when I'm practicing a handstand my left arm tingles after a few seconds. I can't tell exactly but I think it originates in the shoulder and travels down to the hand. I'm guessing I'm pinching a nerve and wanted to know how to prevent this from happening. I'm practicing facing a wall.

 

Second question is about arm balances. I also do strength training and was wandering if there was specific moves anyone has had success with to increase their strength. Right now I can't hold crow pose for more than 2 seconds before I fall. In strength training sessions I'm currently focusing on push ups and pull ups as well as kettlebell exercises. Thanks for any advice.

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I find crow has a lot to do with core strength as well, I have tiny arms and can hold crow pose as well as a few other arm balances for good amounts of time. Maybe you could incorporate some plank type exercises to your strength training, 30-60 second timed planks, side plank, etc. I find lay down pushups good, too (so start on the floor, touch the floor above your head, then put your arms in pushup position, lift your entire body up, then back all the way down, touch the floor above, repeat). Mountain climbers (plank and bring your knees up toward your nose). Ab bicycles. Head stand. Boat pose. Laying on your back, lifting legs right up slowly, then slowly releasing back down. 

 

How's your balance? I also find with crow I position myself so my eyes will be focusing on the dot on my towel. Focussing on one particular spot on your mat or the ground will also help. 

 

I'm not an expert by any means, but in my own personal practice these are some things I've found helpful :) I hope it helps.

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Hi opayk, as Jasmine said, core strength seems to be more important than arm strength. Shoulder strength seems important too! My teacher said that you can either start from a deep squat (arms bent in between the knees) and roll onto your palms to engage the arm balance, or you can start with the arms on the floor and raising the knees and rounding your back at the same time. I don't know if either method will fix the tingling, but it might be better to rest your knees on your tricep muscle to ensure that you're not striking a nerve somewhere.

 

As far as I'm concerned, I think you should be training the shoulders and the core (but I'm struggling with balancing too  :))

Good luck!

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I always assume it was upper body strength for crow. I'll make note to focus more on core work. Thanks for the advice.

Jasmine likes this

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Welcome to the community.

What you have described does sound like a pinched nerve but it is hard for us to know. Whatever is going on we never want those types of sensation. When it happens come out of the pose and try a counter pose. That might be grab your feet and go into Child's pose. That will gently pull your arms the opposite direction and Child's pose is always good after an inversion. If you don't pull on the feet that will relax the shoulders and neck (where the nerve may have been pinched). So you may want to experiment to find which works the best for you.  Then have another try at handstand. Just have to keep practicing, work slowly and build up the strength. It will get easier if you practice everyday.

 

There is an old topic here that has just about everything for Crow pose. Start at the top and work your way down.

 

Other exercises will certainly help but when we are in the shape of the pose the muscles get trained in that particular position.

 

If you need more help don't hesitate to ask.

MrBalloonHands likes this

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I see that I'm coming into this thread late, but crow has been on my mind lately (just did a video on it, actually) because other yogis I know struggle with it. So I hope that you see this ohpayk.

 

I don't have a lot of upper body strength (or even core) strength, but I can hold crow for quite a while. As Jasmine already mentioned, what I find most helpful is to fixate my gaze on a spot a bit in front of my hands. I have noticed that other yogis who struggle with crow are either looking straight down or back at their feet. One gal I know was able to nail crow once she shifted her gaze. So, if you haven't tried doing so yet, see what happens when you do.

 

Good luck!

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I read somewhere that having a longer torso and arms make crow pose more difficult. Currently I find the only way I can come close is to stack knees on elbows and it's still not very long. Patience is a virtue currently.

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Hi ohpayk, I have another tip for crow pose. I heard somewhere that you should squeeze your upper arms with your knees rather than stacking your knees on your elbows. Doing this changed my ability from being able to hold crow for 15 seconds to over a minute. 

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I can't help with the pinched nerve but I wish I could see a vid of you doing crow because there are so many aspects to it and you may already have the strength for it but it's hard to say without seeing it. My biggest tip is to be sure your elbows are in line with your wrists. You won't balance there if the elbows aren't in line with the wrists. If they are, like other people said, check your gaze. Gaze out in front - on the ground but maybe 3 feet in front of you. Soft gaze. Then, check in with your legs. Instead of resting the weight of the legs on the arms, think about finding the sensation of a lift and imagine you're perching your legs on your arms softly and then imagine the sensations of a round in your upper back. 

 

For strength building - chaturangas, downward dog, lots of navasana, and warrior 2.

KristiSmithYoga likes this

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It looks like I've moved passed the nerve issue. Not sure if it was weak muscles. The advice to do more navasana is probably the most dreaded because I struggle and usually don't do it. It also confirms that my deep core is my weakness.

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