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Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand): Common Mistakes, Proper Form, and Variations
The Forearm Stand or Forearm Balance is an advanced yoga pose that focuses on developing your core strength. It takes tremendous concentration and determination to lift and balance your upper body.
This yoga pose is a balancing inversion that helps you prepare for the more difficult arm balances and backbends. The Forearm Stand strengthens your upper arms, shoulder joints, shoulders, pubic bone, bottom leg, elbows, feet, hips, fingers, legs, knees, toes, head, heels, and neck.
It’s an overall exercise for the body, but make sure you are guided by a yoga teacher when practicing this pose.
Let’s look into how to perform this advanced yoga pose safely and properly.
Steps to Perform Pincha Mayurasana or Forearm Stand in Yoga
Pincha Mayurasana is a yoga pose that needs constant practice to perfect the kicking and lifting of your heels, toes, and legs. If you’re still getting familiar with inversions, it will take time to lift and kick successfully.
Falling is expected in your first few tries. The heavier you are or, the more weight you have, the more challenging it will be to lift your body and keep it in a straight line.
Your yoga teacher will guide you through the steps to prevent you from falling forward or on the floor. Here are the steps to follow in doing the forearm stand yoga pose:
Position the mat
You will need the support of the wall, so your upper body will have something solid to fall back on when you fall. You must place the yoga mat near the wall in this yoga pose.
Face the wall
While faced on the wall, come down with your knees and hands firmly on the floor. Position your hand forward with your fingertips facing the wall an inch or two distance.
This is important so that when you kick, the wall will support your heels, and you can keep your spine straight.
Bring your elbows to a bend
You will now bend your elbows. As you do, lay your forearms and palms flat on the mat.
Check that your upper arms are at a 90-degree angle to your forearms. Keep your eyes straight and down.
Practice deep breaths while you are in this yoga pose.
Lift your hips
In this step of making a Forearm Stand, you will lift your hips while your toes are curled under. This will position your legs into the yoga pose Adho Mukha Svanasana or Down Dog.
This is also sometimes referred to in yoga as Puppy or Dolphin Pose. This will make it easier for you to perform Dolphin Pose in your next yoga sessions.
Feet to the elbow
Slowly walk your feet until they get to the nearest position you can do to your elbows. Try as much as you can to get your hips over your shoulders.
Lift a leg
Choose your dominant leg and lift it to a Down-Dog Split yoga pose.
After a few breaths, bend the knee of your leg on the floor and kick the lifted leg. Move up the bottom leg while keeping the foot flexed.
Your goal is to have your heels placed on the wall. Keep your head firmly on the mat with your eyes on the mat between your hands.
Do the hug
You will now engage your core while keeping the pose. Feel your ribs and hug them in.
You can skip this if you are still not up for the challenge. It will eventually become easy with continued practice.
In this step, you will try full inversion by getting your left leg and right leg up. This will further engage your core.
Once you have gained strength, try to remove one leg at a time from the wall. Remove the left leg first and then the right leg while keeping your shoulders parallel to the floor.
Keep your knees straight, and your forearms parallel at each side of your body. Try to sustain your balance by keeping your weight and core in check.
Breathe slowly and deeply as you keep the pose for up to five minutes.
Slowly lower your legs. Bring your whole body on the floor, and rest in Balasana or Child’s Pose.
With continued practice, you can perform the inversion farther from the wall. Your goal is to get this done at the centre of the room.
When you no longer have the wall as support, you will gather support from your shoulder blades, right leg, left leg, index fingers, big toes, arms, forearms, hips, knees, and toes. You will engage your whole body as you brace your core.
What You Can Gain from Doing Forearm Stand
The Forearm Stand can help strengthen your back, core, shoulders, and arms. As you do it more often, you can overcome your fear of falling, and it helps improve your balance.
This inversion yoga pose will boost the blood flow to your brain. This can make you feel lighter and relieve stress.
Inversions are also done in yoga to improve practitioners’ mental abilities and open their third eye chakra.
The Forearm Stand is also beneficial to the following body parts:
- Spinal muscles
- Musculoskeletal system
- Endocrine system
- Nervous system
- Lymphatic system
- Cardiovascular system
Tweaking the Forearm Stand
Depending on your goals and fitness levels, you can do variations to the typical Forearm Stand. One way to do this is by performing the Forearm Stand with Block.
You will use a block for this exercise and place it on the mat near the wall You will use a block for this exercise and place it on the mat near the wall, and follow these steps:
- Form an L-shape with each of your thumbs. This means you will have a backward L formed at your right hand.
- Place your thumbs on the block’s front part as you move your hands forward into the block. Keep your palms flat on the mat and your forefinger on the block’s sides.
- Push your hands into the mat and block, and kick your legs.
You can use other yoga props to make the exercise easier. Other practitioners use straps for this yoga pose.
Eventually, you can perform the pose more easily and balance yourself better without using props.
The Common Mistakes Done in Forearm Stand
Avoid these mistakes to ensure safety and practice the pose properly each time:
Extending into a backbend can take a toll on your shoulder joints and makes it harder to balance your forearms. This results in your body forming a banana shape.
To avoid the mistake, prepare your shoulders for the pose by doing boat pose crunches and other good warmup exercises.
Sinking Into Your Shoulders
Avoid sinking into your shoulders when you are coming down from the pose. You must try hard to keep your shoulder blades up to achieve this.
Beginners often commit the mistake of splaying their elbows. You have to practice keeping the elbows parallel with your shoulders. You can use a block or other props to make executing this yoga pose easier.
Safety Notes in Doing Forearm Stand
Before doing this pose, ensure you do not suffer from neck, shoulder, and back injuries. It is also not advisable for people with heart ailments, headaches, and high blood pressure.
It’s also not advisable for pregnant women. Some people also avoid inversions during menstruation. However, this isn’t based on any medical findings.
Forearm Stand is an inversion pose suited for advanced yoga practitioners. It strengthens your whole body while developing your concentration and awareness.
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