Skip Nav
Healthy Living
Yoga Sequence to Melt the Tension Away
Jillian Michaels
Jillian Michaels Shares a Story That Will Encourage You to Wipe Away Your Tears and Ask For Help
January Jump-Start Workouts
You Don't Need a Gym For This At-Home Workout Plan

How to Feel Strong in Arm Balances

A Kung Fu-Inspired Tip to Transform Your Yoga Practice

I took one class with yoga superstar Kathryn Budig and felt compelled to sign up for a daylong intensive at this year's Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco. I went in with high expectations, and this talented teacher did not disappoint.

After a challenging class and inspiring lecture in the morning, the afternoon was spent workshopping the poses that scare us the most. There was one tip that pervaded every pose where you "stand" on your hands, from Downward Dog to Handstand to Wheel: Kathryn told us to do the "Jackie Chan."

This tip has had an ever-evolving pop-culture-inspired name over the years (at one point she even referred to it as Marcel the Shell), but the tip itself remains the same: the secret to stronger, stable postures where you're on your hands comes from deep within the serratus anterior. This muscle connects the front ribs to the shoulder blades, and when it's engaged, your shoulders are in a much safer and stronger position. It can be tricky to learn how to do this, so here's where thinking "Jackie Chan" comes in to help.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kathryn says if you mimic Jackie Chan's kung-fu stance — "elbows bent, biceps tight to the body, forearms out" — you'll feel the serratus anterior engage. When you engage this muscle, it protects your shoulders and keeps your upper body stable, strong, and safe. Once you incorporate this tip into your practice, you will feel a huge difference in your ability to sustain and hold every pose where you're "standing" on your hands.

Around The Web
Join The Conversation
Naked Yoga Pictures
Yoga Poses That Tone Your Butt
Yoga Is Officially Sweeping the Workplace
Gisele Bundchen Practices Yoga With Her Kids
What Not to Wear to Yoga Class
The World's Oldest Yoga Teacher Stars in New Athleta Ad
Basic Stretches For Tight Hips

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds