Arm Balances and Inversions

Technically this page lists upper body balances (any pose where only parts of your body above the waist are touching the floor), but I think that’s a term I made up, so we’re calling it arm balances & inversions for now.

Format: English (alternative names) | Sanskrit if it’s a yoga pose

Hand balances

Legs on arms

Crow family

Crow | Bakasana

Crane | Bakasana

  • this and crow are sometimes considered the same pose, but the main difference is that in crane, arms should be straight

Side crow | Parsva bakasana

  • easier with hip on arm, but ideally off
  • bent or straight legs
  • “fallen” variation where side of head touches the ground

One legged crow | Eka pada bakasana

Other – Symmetrical

Shoulder pressing pose | Bhujapidasana

Firefly | Titibasana

Wide leg sit arm balance

  • I’ve only seen this as a transition in rocket yoga, when you come down from Prasarita onto the floor. Placing hands between your legs slowly lower until feet can lift just before you sit on the ground.

Other – Asymmetrical

Flying split | Eka pada Koudinyasana I

  • means pose dedicated to sage Koudinya
  • one leg on opposite arm (eg right leg on left arm, left leg in air)

Flying split | Eka pada Koudinyasana II

  • same leg on arm (eg right leg on right arm, left leg in air)

Flying lizard | Uttan Pristhasana

  • similar to above, but with front leg wrapped around the arm

Eight angle pose | Astavakrasana

Flying pigeon | Eka pada galavasana

Grasshopper (or dragonfly)| Maksikanagasana

Fallen angel pose | Devaduuta panna asana

  • side of head is usually lightly touching the ground here, but there shouldn’t be much weight on it.

Seat lifts

I’m grouping these together because the basic mechanic is 1) sit in a certain pose and 2) lift.

Symmetrical

Scale pose | Tolasana (Utplutih in ashtanga)

  •  hands inbetween legs or outside
  • one leg straight variation

Pendant | Lolasana

L-sit (or celibate’s pose) | Bramcharyasana

Asymmetrical

Elephant’s trunk pose | Eka hasta bhujasana

  • leg over shoulder

Marichyasana arm balance

  • I’ve only seen this as a transition so far. Sit in Marichyasana A, get your arm under your bent leg, and lift.

Rocket L-sit variation

  • Not sure if this has a better name, but it’s a pose commonly done during rocket yoga. While sitting, one hand is between thighs and the other outside. Then lift.

Leg behind head

One leg behind head | Eka pada sirsasana

Legs behind head | Dwi pada sirsasana

Moon bird pose | Chakorasana

Handstand

  • leg variations:  straight, wide, split…

Other

Peacock | Mayurasana

  • lotus variation

Forearm balances

Baby crow | Bala bakasana

Lotus forearm pose | Karandavasana

Forearm balance (or feathered peacock) | Pincha mayurasana

  • different leg variations
  • scorpion variation (back bent)

Half-and-half balances (on one forearm and other hand)

Half and half crow (on one forearm and other hand)

Funky pincha (or other balances with one forearm and one hand on the floor)

Headstands

Supported headstand | Salamba sirsasana

  • forearms are one the floor forming part of a triangle, hands are clasped and supporting the head

Tripod headstand | Mukta hasta sirsasana A

Free hand headstand| Mukta hasta sirsasana B

Other inversions

Supported shoulderstand | Salamba sarvangasana

  • lotus or other leg variations

Chinstand (or cheststand) | Viparita chalabasana