Leonardo da Vinci is famous for the words, “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

It’s funny how arm balances seem impossible until they become possible one day. The impossible becomes possible one day, and the flight begins. The taste of flight is so intoxicating that yogis all over the world want to take off again and soar. Arm balances are not only addictive, but they have incredible benefits for your overall health and well-being. Here are five benefits that arm balances have.

Tone & Lift Your Whole Body

The arms may do all the lifting, but every part of your body is needed to fly. A strong core, legs, and back lift the arms and wrists, protecting them from injury and strain. Arm balances are taken to another level by lifting and toning the internal muscles through bandhas. Flight is more fun, easier to achieve, and sustainable when the entire body works together.

Strengthening the body to protect the shoulder joints

The upper body is not often challenged during the day due to the rise in desk jobs. Arm balances can be a great counter to a more sedentary lifestyle. The connecting hip joints allow humans to walk on their legs. The femur, or large thighbone, is anchored in the hip socket. This increases stability at the expense of mobility. Arms and shoulder joints that connect them are another story. Shoulder joints are among the most mobile in the body, and therefore, they’re less stable. Due to the decreased stability and extreme range of movement, shoulder joints are more prone to injury and pain, especially if arm balances place weight on the arms without considering lifting. The arms are able to focus on their task when the rest of the body lifts the upper body. Stable and strong upper bodies protect the shoulder joints.

Balance your body, mind, and soul.

It is no surprise that arm-balancing encourages the body to find balance. Body awareness, focused attention, and willingness to attempt are all necessary for achieving balance. Focused attention on lifting the body allows the mind to be present in the moment. The moment-focused attention invites intention, and the soul is light enough to fly. Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said: “I fly because it frees my mind from the tyranny of petty things.”

Boost Prana Flow

Prana is the vital energy and life force that permeates our universe. Prana enters the body through the breath and connects the mind and body. Ayama means extension, and pranayama involves lengthening your breath, life force, and even life itself. When combined with breathwork, armbalancing boosts the prana in the body and mind. This pairing enables prana, which increases blood flow in the pituitary and brain. It also revitalizes and slows down the aging process.

Encourage positive self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence.

Manipura is often associated with the third chakra because it requires immense will and power. The third chakra is linked to fire, and when you act and honor your power within, it burns away all fears and blocks. By affirming your will to achieve an arm balance, the fear of flying is reduced, and it becomes easier to fly. By believing in yourself to perform an arm balance, you promote the idea of self-esteem rather than a right. Self-esteem can be earned and backed up with evidence, which promotes confidence and self-worth.