Arm balancing and inversions: Learning to use my fingers

It took me a while to really understand what it means to “put weight in your fingers” and to
consistently apply it, but this was the one tip that made the greatest difference to me for arm
balancing and inversions.
I used to place a lot of weight into my wrists, and I tend to fall forward while leaning forward into
the poses. Admittedly, I’ve heard variations of this advice from friends who practise Yoga:
– “Spread your fingers and grip the mat with your fingers”
– “Your hands are too flat on the mat. Your knuckles should be bent so that you can better
activate your fingers”
They helped, but not significantly.
Through YTT course, I realised that these comments have the right idea, but the articulation focused
too much on how the fingers should “look” or “do”, instead of the function that they are serving.
Simply following the instructions at face value without understanding the principle behind meant
that I wasn’t getting the most out of the action.
My breakthrough came when Jessica told us that our fingers are like our toes in ABIs (she did not
explicitly talk about all of the points below, but these are my personal takeaways):
– Just like how we press down on our toes to find stability on our feet, we have to press down
on our fingers to find stability in our hands. When you feel like you are falling forward, use
your fingers to pull yourself back.
– Greater contact points with the floor, and larger base, means greater stability – hence no
supination of the palm (i.e. no air pockets under the palm), and spread the fingers.
– Just like how we don’t use all our toes equally for stability, we don’t have to use all fingers
equally – most of the weight should be in the thumbs and first 2 fingers.
With this analogy, it is also easier for me to know when to focus more on activating my fingers (i.e.
when I feel that I am starting to sway/lose my balance) versus focusing on the other body parts. I am
hoping that over time, with practice and muscle memory, I don’t have to actively think of my fingers
as often in ABIs!


Nge Hwee
200 Hour YTT Feb-May’21