Tips for Developing Arm and Core Strength for Arm-Balancing Postures and Push-up Positions

Arm balancing postures and positions such as the Cataranga Dandasana (the push-up) can be very exhilarating. They can energise you by increasing your circulation and they are also good at developing chest, arm and core strength. When done correctly they can really help relieve and prevent back and neck pain and can give direct stimulation to the heart and lungs. Click on the following thumbnails to open and enlarge the full photographs of Bianca Machliss (Director, Yoga Synergy) demonstrating some arm-balancing postures. (All photos by Alejandro Rolandi)
Often women have trouble doing these arm balancing postures because of relatively smaller chest and arms and larger hips relative to men. Often men can only do these poses out of brute force, but when you understand and adopt the following tips strength is not as much of an issue and more people especially women can begin to enjoy and benefit from arm balancing postures.

Simple Tips to help to Arm Balancing Postures and Push-up positions:

  • (note that every position that takes weight on the arms has specific details that may not be mentioned here)
  • have the palms flat on the floor but grip with your finger tips
  • press more on the inside (thumb-side) of the palms for better force transfer from the forearms to the wrists
  • squeeze the heel of the palm inwards (as if trying to turn the palm out) in order to stabilise the elbow
  • tighten the underarm muscles by pressing the arm pits in the direction they are pointing
  • generally bring the shoulders over the over the finger tips (for most arm balances)
  • spread the shoulder blades and lengthen the skin between the shoulder blades in the upper back
  • push the sitting bones and lower trunk toward the same direction the navel is pointing until the front of the abdomen becomes firm without sucking the navel to the spine
  • breathe into the firm abdomen to give you relaxed inner power that can be maintained for a long time without stress
  • don’t do anything that feels painful or is potentially dangerous for you

simon_borg_olivier2Author: Simon Borg-Olivier


Simon Borg-Olivier MSc BAppSc (Physiotherapy) is a Co-Director of Yoga Synergy, one of Australia’s oldest and most respected yoga schools. The Yoga Synergy style is based on a deep understanding of yoga anatomy, yoga physiology and traditional Hatha Yoga. Simon has been teaching since 1982. He is a registered physiotherapist, a research scientist and a university lecturer. Simon has been regularly invited to teach at special workshops and conferences interstate and overseas since 1990.

Suffice to say, Simon has led an extraordinary life. At the age of six, he was introduced to yogic breathing (pranayama) by his father George who taught him to swim underwater, and the main bandhas (internal locks) through a family friendship with Rhodesian Olympian Basil Brown. At the age of 17, he met a Tibetan Lama who introduced him to the philosophy and practice of Tantric Yoga. In 1985, Simon met his primary teacher Natanaga Zhander (Shandor Remete) with whom he studied for almost two decades. He has also studied with such internationally revered Indian teachers as BKS Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois and TKV Desikachar. Since 2007, Simon has been developing his yoga practice and understanding by studying with Master Zhen Hua Yang.

During the past 20 years, as well as running a successful yoga school, Simon has continued to both study and teach at the University of Sydney. Simon has completed a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, a research-based Master of Science in Molecular Biology and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy. As well as teaching both group and individual classes through Yoga Synergy, Simon also teaches regularly at workshops and conferences both nationally and internationally. He lives in Sydney with his wife and fellow-yoga teacher Vitoria and their children Amaliah and Eric.

Simon also runs a world renowned on line Yoga Anatomy Training, if you want to find out more you can click on the image below.

Yoga Synergy Online Teacher Training and Education

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