Happy #forearmfriday y’all! Not only does Friday get #flexfriday, but it ALSO gets a picture dedicated to a forearmstand!
What’s this all about? Well, Instagram right now has a daily hashtag phenomenon: #mancrushmonday, #transformationtuesday, #womancrushwednesday, #throwbackthursday… Those are the most popular, but obviously there are others to be had out there. (Be on the lookout for #jumpjoymonday and #wearpinkwednesday! 😉 ) The idea is to post a picture dedicated to the topic of the hashtag.
For many, forearmstand (pinchamayurasana) is an advanced yoga posture that seems inaccessible. However, I’ve broken it down here into 7 steps. There are countless prep postures you can practice and play with to build strength before even trying to get both feet up in the air; four are listed and described below.
1. Forearm plank
Bring the forearms to the mat and step the feet all the way back behind you. Forearms are parallel to one another, shoulders lined up over the elbows. Shoulderblades are squeezing toward one another, low belly is pulling inward toward the spine, quads are activating, and heels are pressing back. You’re a straight line all the way from crown of the head, through the hips, to the heels. Try not to tent the hips up or allow them to sag down. To modify: bring the knees to the mat; then you’re in a straight line from the head to the knees. Tip: use a mirror and check yourself out!
2. Dolphin pose
Dolphin is basically downward-facing dog, just with the forearms planted. From forearm plank, lift the hips high. Allow the heels to reach towards the mat and the heart to melt between the shoulders towards the knees. A strength building variation: from downdog, lower both elbows at the SAME time into dolphin. Whew!
3. Dolphin x 2
For this variation of dolphin, you’re starting to prep more for forearmstand. Shift the gaze between the fingers. Start to lift up and press forward on the toes. Try to walk the feet in as close to the elbows as possible. This brings the shoulders over the elbows (think plank again) and the hips higher too.
4. Lift a leg
If all of the previous prep poses have become “easy” for you, meaning you can hold them for quite some time, try lifting a leg. Keep the shoulders stable and elbows parallel to one another. They’ll want to splay out, so really hug in here. The lifted leg is STRONG! It doesn’t just hang up in the air. Don’t forget to switch sides.
Here comes the scary part, so feel free to grab a wall! Once lifting a leg is easy-peasy, try hopping off the toes that are on the ground. It’ll be a very slight lift at first, while over time you might be able to bring the heel of your bottom foot to the butt cheek and hold. This gives you the feeling of bringing the hips over the shoulder over the elbows. If you kick too hard, you will go over. So please grab a wall, start with smaller kicks to work the hips up over time, or have a spotter. Same thing here, watch the elbows (no splaying out), and switch sides.
6. Both legs up
If you can float in that hop position, try to SLOWLY bring your bottom foot up to meet the first foot. Press into the forearms, tuck the low ribs in, engage the core. If the belly isn’t engaged, this will be even more difficult if not impossible. It’ll also let the back to banana, which isn’t good. So belly is so so so strong! Oh, and don’t forget to breathe. 😉
Once you can hold forearmstand, you can start to play with infinite variations: splits, stag legs, eagle legs, partner play, funky pincha, transition from headstand, transition to baby crow, scorpion, transition into forearm wheel… Just make sure to keep everything safe and engaged. No dumping into the low back. And keep up the work on your non-dominant side.