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Old 07-26-2009, 07:26 PM   #1
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Bruising in arm balancing poses

I'm assuming that if I find bruises on my triceps the day after doing a lot of arm balances that I lost my bandhas somewhere during the poses. Or, is bruising inevitable if you hold arm balances a long time? I feel like I should know the answer to this, but since I don't, I'm posting here... Thanks!
Clarissa Adkins, RYT-200
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:22 PM   #2
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Hello Clarissa,

You would have to make a tie-in for me with bandhas as I don't see the relationship. So I can't answer that as you've put it. I don't see how the engagement, or lack thereof, of jalandhara, udiyana, and mula bandha would have any bearing on forearm bruising.

Bruising can vary from person to person depending on age, medications which interfere with blood clotting, and supplement intake like fish oil and ginko (blood thinning effect). Also I've been told that those with less body fat may bruise more easily than I

It would be unusual to have contusions without impact though I suppose blood vessels with thinner walls might "pop" under effort without impact. I have not seen it. Which arm balances are you referring to?
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:00 PM   #3
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I can't think of a good reason why you should have bruising from arm balances, particularly as you mentioned the triceps (upper arms, vs forearms). Bruises showing up in the upper arms the day after could actually be coming from bleeding in the shoulder area. Gravity can bring the blood several inches below the site of the injury before it becomes visible on the surface of the skin. You might be getting some minor muscle tearing, perhaps from struggling into or out of the poses.

As InnerAthlete mentioned, various meds and supplements could exacerbate any bleeding that occurs (and a lot of people are led to believe that lots-more-is-lots-better when taking supplements, which is hardly ever the case.)

I, too, am unsure why bandhas, or lack thereof, would lead to bruising, unless by that you mean a more general state of control/stability in the poses. More details about what exactly your balancing practice is like would be interesting.
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:39 PM   #4
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Dear Clarissa,
The two previous responses to your question were absolutely 'spot-on.' Careful of those shoulders! I'll add that:

In answer to your question:
Quote: bruising inevitable if you hold arm balances a long time?
No...not in my experience.
Also, I am not sure what you mean by 'long?' i.e., two minutes actual clock-time, 5 minutes, 20, 30....more?

In my own practice sometimes I focus on this area for 2+ hours, holding various asanas with, and then without, props as long as I comfortably can--without strain. Though in my fifties now I have never had bruising. I may be a bit sore the next day after working intensely on arm balances...but never bruised.

Clarissa, as a fellow yogini, we women generally have weaker arms than men and therefore must work diligently to master various arm balancing asanas. Forcing the issue only leads to strain, pain and injury.

I would like to share with you the following story of one of my students:
I've had the most fortunate past experience (1990-05) to have taught thousands of senior adults while Ath Dir of the largest active adult community in Florida. I remember one student (80 years young) who was consistently aggressive and stubborn in her asana practice. She was amazingly flexible...physically 'advanced' in many asanas but not balanced in her approach...too aggressive. She was a bit recalcitrant in her demeanor as well.
During Upavistha Konasana, (seated angle pose) I saw her straining to widen the legs beyond ability....forcing the pose. I had to constantly remind her to relax and ease-up during asanas--not force them. Well, the next day (I taught classes 5 days a week, M-F)...she showed me bruising on both inner thighs! She was shocked; I was not. Seeing the evidence of her own aggressiveness manifested on her body helped to change this pattern.
That lesson was a powerful one for her.

As Inner Athlete asked: Which arm balances were you doing?

Namaste, Nancy

"I lost my bandhas"
(control), that's funny! May I borrow it, Clarissa?
I have a sort of 'saying of the month' and this just may be it for August!
The Reverend Nancy Ash
Yoga Alliance, registered since 2000, E-RYT500, T500
IAYT Member (2004) - International Assoc. of Yoga Therapists
Doctoral Candidate 2011, Metaphysics and Spirituality

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Old 07-27-2009, 11:10 PM   #5
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Dear Clarissa

I get bruises on my forearms when doing the side split arm balance too. Nothing large, but they're certainly there.

I noticed it a few weeks ago after repeatedly trying the balance. I've decided that I should take a gentler, more gradual approach.

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