Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana
Are you moving towards Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana? Here are some step by step tips to help prepare your body for this fun and challenging pose.
Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana, personally gave me a run for my money. My tight shoulders & neck, combined with my natural tendency to arch my lower back (I like to call this “Duck Butt”- the hyper mobile lower back) forced me to take a hard look at alignment & retrain my patterns in order to hold this pose.
Here are some of my favorite tips to add into your practice to help you prepare for Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana. Personally, I spend a lot of time in these wall variations. They are great, not only to get you into Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana but to open the upper back, shoulders and neck after a long day at your desk.
Tip #1: Downward Dog at the wall
You are going to LOVE this one. It doesn’t look like much, but just wait till you try it– so good! Start with your toes touching the baseboard & wrists lined up with your elbows. Palms are flat on the wall.
Next, step back, bring your torso parallel to the ground and feet hip distance apart (meaning heels underneath your sit bones). Your hands are going to want to slide down the wall, don’t let them. Now, start to roll the outer edge of your shoulders away from your ears. This is called an external rotation– the joint is moving away from the body. Take your shoulder blades down the backside. Activate your legs. Spread out your toes and fingers. Work to press the triad of the hand down– space between thumb and middle finger. Keep working that external rotation in the shoulders- thats where the juice to this pose is. Let your head go; relax the face. Now find strength in your core. Invite your front ribs towards your back ribs, strong low belly.
Tip #2 Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana at the wall
For Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana at the wall, the alignment cues are very similar to tip #1. Bring your elbows shoulder distance apart, palms flat on the wall and forearms touching the wall. Feet are hip distance apart. Start to soften between the shoulder blades, allowing the sternum to melt down towards the ground. Imagine you’re forearms are stuck in cement and energetically traction the elbows away from one another. Be mindful of your core, draw your front ribs towards your back body and low belly in towards the spine. Legs are strong and active. Depending on how this feels in your neck, let the head go. Ideally, The head does not touch the wall. To modify, the forehead can rest on the wall. Breathe DEEP!
Tip #3 Dolphin Pose- to build strength
Now this one can be a bit of a doozy. Looking to build strength in your shoulders and core? Try this! Here we interlace our fingers, placing forms on the ground and elbows shoulder distance apart. Just like we did at the wall, our forearms energetically work away from one another. This will create space across the collarbones and give you a sense that the shoulders are stretching. Let the space between your shoulder blades soften. The outer edges of the shoulders roll away from the ears here too – creating that external rotation in the shoulder. Let the back of the neck be long. Take the shoulder blades down the backside, so the neck has space. Feet are hip distance apart and sits bones reach high into the sky. This is core work, so draw the front ribs towards the back ribs and get strong in your center. As always, don’t forget to breathe and maybe even smile. It makes the pose lighter!
Want a variation? Lift one leg. As you lift your leg, dial the pinky toe down to the ground and reach up with the inner edge of the thigh, working to bring the hips parallel. Be mindful that the shoulders stay integrated.
Tip #4 Use Props for Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana
For this tip, you will need one yoga block and a strap. Don’t have those? Substitute a book and belt. Here you will place the block between the “L” of the hand. Loop your strap around your upper arms, tightening it so your elbows are shoulder-distance apart.
The purpose of using these props is to stabilize the shoulders. Press the upper arm into the strap, to create that external rotation in the shoulders we have been talking about (outer edge of the shoulder works away from the ear). Use the block to create an internal rotation with the forearms. Press the “L” of the hand into the block. Opposition creates balance- so balancing these two rotations will help you hold this pose! Keep strong legs and don’t forget about your core: front ribs to back ribs, naval to the spine. Not yet ready to kick up in the middle of the room? Try this against the wall.
Tip #5 Ditch the Props and FLY into Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana
Just like everything else in life, we can get attached to our props. Be sure to practice some rounds with the props for alignment awareness and some rounds without. As my teacher Larry Schultz always said, “you have to fall to fly!” So, practice falling. Get comfortable exiting your inversions. When you are up in Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana it is like you are surfing between your fingertips and elbows. Claw with the fingertips, those are your brakes from going over. Use all the other alignment tips that you’ve gathered from the first 4 tips and apply them here. Strong legs, active core, space across the collarbones, external rotation of the shoulders and internal rotation of the forearms. Most importantly, have fun and be playful!
Have questions? Reach out, I would love to hear from you! Did you try these tips? Let me know how things went in the comments below! Happy flying!