Out of all our body parts, our upper limbs or arms are the weakest since most of us are not used to heavy lifting in regular life and have desk jobs. For these very same reasons, it becomes important to stretch, train and strengthen our arms everyday and enjoy flexibility and good health.

However, arm balances are relatively tougher than other yoga poses. Hence, one should practice them sparingly as a beginner and aim to first prepare your upper body well. Gradually transition to the full list given below and develop lean, strong and flexible arm muscles.

Tips for Arm balance poses

  1. Use a rolled soft towel to place in between your shoulder blades for better support in an inverted arm balance pose like the Bridge pose.
  2. Spread your fingers apart in a star and try to dig your fingers in the mat fr better grip and alignment.
  3. Gaze is particularly important in arm balance yoga poses due to strain on neck and shoulders. Do not attempt to look into the mirror while in these poses. It is better to record a video or ask someone to check your alignment.
  4. Restorative poses for an upward extension includes poses with a rounded back like Child pose, and for inversion poses, it is the straight spine poses like the Corpse pose or Crocodile pose.

Maintaining arm, elbow and palm safety

  1. Always perform arm balances on a yoga mat or sand to ensure a soft cushioning beneath the palms and elbows.
  2. Never go in or out of these poses quickly. The movement should be gradual otherwise there is a high risk of snapping and muscle tear.
  3. Do a little warm up by twisting the wrists, swinging arms by the side and stretching and twisting side ways.
  4. Never discard the restorative poses performed at the end, as they allow the muscles to relax and come back into the initial condition.

All Poses on Arms and Shoulders (Table with benefits and pictures)

Yoga Poses (asanas) with benefits Pose Image
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Strengthens neck and shoulders
  • Massages abdominal organs and kidneys
  • Tones lower back and calves
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) thumbnail
Bridge Pose on Elbows (Dvapada Dhanurasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Beneficial in stress, depression and anxiety
  • Improves neck and spine health
  • Enhances memory and focus
Bridge Pose on Elbows thumbnail
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Improves focus and retention
  • Enhances cardiovascular capacity
  • Tones abdomen and lower back
Cobra Pose thumbnail
Crane / Crow Pose (Bakasana / Kakasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Enhances arm and shoulders strength
  • Great for spine and neck
  • Improves digestion and balances hormones
Crane Pose (Bakasana) thumbnail
Crocodile Pose (Makarasana)

  • Level: Beginner
  • Greatly centers anxious and depressed mind
  • Restores energy and rejuvenates physically
  • Good for flat feet
crocodile-pose-makarasana thumbnail
Dove Pose (Vajra Kapotasana)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Increases blood circulation in spine and head
  • Strengthens shoulders and knees
  • Stretches quadriceps and chest muscles
Vajra Kapotasana thumbnail
Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Level: Beginner
  • Enhances hamstring flexibility and hip flexion
  • Stretches Achilles’ tendons
  • Strengthens wrists, ankles, toes and back
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) thumbnail
Feathered Peacock Pose (Pinch Mayurasana)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Strengthens arms, shoulders and chest
  • Tones back and buttocks
  • Great for anxiety and stress
Pinch Mayurasana thumbnail
Firefly Pose (Tittibhasana)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Improves wrist strength and hand grip
  • Tones back of thighs and abdomen
  • Enhances balance and focus
Firefly Pose thumbnail
Four Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

  • Level: Beginner
  • Strengthens toes and fingers
  • Tones upper back, hips and chest
  • Works great on balance and arm strength
Chaturanga Dandasana thumbnail
Half Bound Lotus Standing Pose (Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Great stretch for Achilles’ tendon and hamstrings
  • Beneficial in hormonal imbalances
  • Strengthens arms and legs
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana thumbnail
Half Bow Pose (Ardha Dhanurasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Improves balance and limb strength
  • Increases joint health
  • Deep stretches abdomen and thighs
Half Bow Pose thumbnail
Half Frog Pose (Ardha Bhekasana)

  • Level: Beginner
  • Stretches abdomen and quadriceps
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders
  • Provides relief in back pain
Half Frog Pose - thumbnail
Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

  • Level: Beginner
  • Aids in fat loss
  • Greatly increases sense of balance and mental focus
  • Stretches thighs and ankles
half moon pose
Knee-Chest-Chin Pose (Ashtanga Namaskara)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Beneficial in back pain
  • Strengthens whole body
  • Stimulates abdominal and reproductive organs
Ashtanga Namaskara thumbnail
Lizard Pose (Uttana Pristhasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Stretches shoulders, hips and groin
  • Shapes thighs and calves
  • Good for flat feet and sciatica
Lizard Pose thumbnail
Lunge Pose (Ashva Sanchalanasana)

  • Level: Beginner
  • Good for flat feet and mental stress
  • Strengthens Achilles’ tendon, hamstrings and fingers
  • Deep stretches the back and legs
Lunge Yoga Pose thumbnail
One Legged Wheel Pose (Eka Pada Chakrasana)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Improves balance and focus
  • Strengthens arms, shoulders and ankles
  • Tones back, hips and calves
One Legged Wheel Pose (Eka Pada Chakrasana) thumbnail
One Legged Bridge Pose (Eka Pada Setuasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Strengthens back, ankles and shoulders
  • Great stretch for abdomen and quadriceps
  • Beneficial for urinary system function
Eka Pada Setuasana thumbnail
One Legged Dog / Downward Dog (Split) Pose (Eka Pada Svanasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Enhances hamstring flexibility and hip flexion
  • Stretches Achilles’ tendons and groin
  • Improves digestion and balance
Eka Pada Svanasana thumbnail
One Legged Headstand (Eka Pada Sirsasana)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Beneficial in mental stress, depression, anxiety and fatigue
  • Stretches legs and ankles
  • Strengthens back, elbows and forearms
eka_pada_sirshasana thumbnail
Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Good for working on focus
  • Strengthens and tones arms and upper back
  • Tones lower body and back
peacock pose - thumbnail
Plow Pose (Halasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Deep stretches back
  • Strengthens shoulders and neck
  • Tones abdomen and helps get relief from obesity
Plow Pose (Halasana) thumbnail
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya I (Eka Pada Koundinyanasana I)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Strengthens arms
  • Improves balance and focus
  • Stretches groin and legs
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya I thumbnail
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II (Eka Pada Koundinyanasana II)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Corrects body alignment
  • Tones whole body
  • Strengthens arms and wrists
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II thumbnail
Scale Pose (Tolasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Strengthens arms, shoulders and chest
  • Great for balance enhancement and hand grip
  • Improves concentration
Scale Pose (Tolasana) thumbnail
Scorpion Pose (Vrschikasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders
  • Great for flexibility and back pain
  • Improves mental focus
Scorpion Pose - thumbnail
Side Crane Pose (Parsva Bakasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Strengthens arms, shoulders and wrists
  • Tones back and abdomen
  • Improves focus and balance
Side Crane Pose (Parsva Bakasana) thumbnail
Sphinx Pose

  • Level: Beginner
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders
  • Tones lower back and hips
  • Good for digestive issues
Sphinx Pose thumbnail
Unsupported Shoulder Stand (Niralamba Sarvangasana)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Strengthens shoulders and neck
  • Improves balance and mental focus
  • Provides relief in stress and anxiety
Unsupported Shoulder Stand (Niralamba Sarvangasana) thumbnail
Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose (Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Deeply stretches thighs, abdomen and chest
  • Great for athletes
  • Makes body flexible and agile
Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose (Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana) thumbnail
Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Strengthens arms and chest muscles
  • Stretches ankles and knees
  • Tones lower back
upward Plank pose thumbnail
Upward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Helpful in thyroid issues
  • Tones back, thighs and calves
  • Strengthens shoulders and arms
Upward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) thumbnail
Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Induces feelings of happiness and relieves from anger and frustration
  • Great for digestive, urinary and reproductive system
  • Strengthens arms and legs
Wheel pose thumbnail

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