Have I mentioned lately how much I love arm balancing? Arm balances are what first attracted me to the practice of yoga. Until a few years ago, I thought yoga was just a collection of standing and seated poses. I had never seen anything quite like fallen angel or crow pose before, and when I saw these incredible postures, I was intrigued. I wasn’t quite ready for the challenge of inverting because I was so frightened of breaking my neck, but I was ready and willing to test my strength and balance while staying close to the ground in an arm balance.
If you are dabbling in the world of arm balances, or if you are considering getting started, let me introduce you to a pose called Flying Lizard.
You may be looking at the full expression of the pose in step 5 and thinking to yourself, “No way. Not happening.” Guess what? That’s okay! The reason why I want to introduce you to this particular arm balance is because EVERY step along the way is beneficial—even if you never fly your lizard.
Step 1 on its own is a hip opener that is worth practicing. Step 2 intensifies the stretch. Step 3 provides the stability of 3 points of contact with the floor while adding an element of difficulty (lifting the front foot from the ground). Step 4 gives you the practice of arm balancing, and step 5 offers the challenge of flying the back leg high into the air.
Give this entire tutorial a try, or feel free to just practice the steps that feel comfortable to you at your current level of fitness/flexibility. If you would like some additional hip stretches, click HERE.
Come onto your hands and knees for Tabletop position. Your shoulders will stack directly above your wrists, and your hips will stack above your knees. Step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Lift onto the ball of your right foot, and make an effort to wiggle your right shoulder underneath your right knee.
Lift your back knee from the ground.
Engage your core, shift weight into your hands, and lift your right foot from the ground, drawing it into your body.
Steps 4 & 5
Gaze forward, not straight down. Continue to shift weight forward into your hands as you lift your back foot from the ground. As you gain strength and find your balance, practice extending your back foot toward the sky. Remember to energize the lifted leg by engaging all of your muscles and even your feet!