Jock Yoga Tutorial: Spinal Twist With Arm-Balance

Learn how to perform a spinal twist to arm balance yoga pose (Photo credits: Glenn Gebhardt)

It’s a new year and a great time to start a new healthy habit! Why not try yoga—specifically Jock Yoga?! As we’ve discussed, Jock Yoga is a hybrid of yoga and fitness focused on strength and endurance rather than flexibility. Jock Yoga caters to the professional and everyday athlete.

Most athletes are very strong in the core—which is a great thing for many reasons—but an overly-developed core can hinder rotation and restrict movement. Twisting poses help to restore your spine’s natural range of motion, stimulate circulation and cleanse your organs. Who couldn’t use a little detoxification after an over-indulged holiday?

This tutorial focuses on trunk rotation and strength while leading you through a simple twisted balance right into a more advanced arm-balance. (You may want to look back at our tutorials and practice some basic flows to warm up, and also roll out the wrists a little before attempting the more advanced variation of this exercise)

Spinal Twist With Arm-Balance

 Jock Yoga Tutorial: Spinal Twist With Arm-Balance

Step 1: Come to a deep, small squat with your feet and knees together. Your personal flexibility will determine whether or not your heels touch down.

Step 2: With an inhale, reach your left arm as high as you can, creating length on the front of the body.

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Spinal Twist With Arm-Balance

Step 3: Keeping your knees together and facing straight forward, twist to your right and place as much of your upper-left arm to the outside of your right thigh as you are able to. Press your hands together. You can stay in this twist, and with every inhale lengthen your chest upward—drawing the shoulder blades down the back. With every exhale, press your palms together—pushing the upper left arm against the thigh as leverage to twist your torso more deeply to the right. Use your core to keep your legs stable and your knees facing straight forward. (Remember: you are twisting at the core, and NOT at the neck) When you are finished five or so deep breaths in your twist, you can release and do a small counter twist to the left, and then set up the twist to the opposite side.

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Spinal Twist With Arm-Balance

Step 4: If you want to take this pose further, keep your upper left arm pressing against the right thigh and open your hands to two stop-sign positions facing the right side.

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Spinal Twist With Arm-Balance

Step 5: Keep your upper left arm pressed against your right thigh and extend your arms enough to place your hands shoulder-width on the floor.

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Spinal Twist With Arm-Balance

Step 6: Walk your feet around (forward) while bending your elbows (keep the elbows stacked above the wrists). Reach your chest forward while bending your elbows and see if you can float your feet up. Note: this isn’t so much about strength as it is about stability and balance in the arms and core. You can think about it like a teeter-totter—balancing your body upon a fulcrum (your elbows).

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Spinal Twist With Arm-Balance

Step 7: If you have successfully come into the arm-balance and are able to sustain it for a bit, you can try extending your legs out to the side (forward). This requires a lot of recruitment in the deep core and oblique muscles. (Remember to always keep the elbows stacked above the wrists for balance and stability)

For more information on Jock Yoga and Jock Yoga’s upcoming 40 Hour certification visit:

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