In Rhythms Yoga pose last week, Dolphin Pose, was a great segue to this week’s pose, Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana. Forearm Balance is a physically and mentally challenging posture with many rewards and benefits. There are modifications, props, and preparatory poses that will help to build strength and confidence for the full pose. Benefits of the pose include strengthening the arms, back, shoulders and core, while stretching and opening the chest and back. Forearm balance helps to relieve stress, build confidence and balance.
Preparatory Poses include Dolphin Pose (see last weeks blog for instructions) and Forearm Prep. against the wall (see instructions below).
Forearm Balance, Preparatory Pose against the wall: Sit on the floor with your back against the wall. Extend the legs out in front. Place a marker on the floor where the feet stop. Come to the hands and knees. Place the forearms and palms down at the marked space, in line with the shoulders, if available. If the shoulders are not open enough to keep the forearms and palms parallel, bring the palms to touch creating a triangle with the elbows and hands. Begin to straighten the legs and come into Dolphin Pose with the heels touching the wall. Begin to walk the feet up the wall until the legs are at a 90 degree angle with the torso.
Draw the shoulders blades flush on the back and draw them upwards towards the tailbone. The shoulder blades are firm and broad on the back. Press the palms and forearms down towards the ground in order to build strength in the upper back and arms. Continue to lengthen the tailbone up towards the ceiling while keeping the legs strong and straight against the wall at a 90 degree angle.
Stay here for 3-5 breaths, creating smooth and even inhales and exhales. Slowly walk the feet down the wall and drop to the knees, coming into Child’s Pose. Rest in Child’s Pose to come back to a calm breath.
To do the full pose, Forearm Balance: Come to facing a wall. Come down to the hands and knees. Place the forearms and palms down on the ground. If available, bring the forearms and palms in line with the shoulders. Option to use a block in between the palms for support and/ or use a strap above the elbows to encourage the elbows from slipping. If using a block, press the thumb and forefinger into the block in order to create more opening and broadening along the upper back. Gaze down in between the palms.
Begin to straighten the legs, moving into Dolphin Pose. Press the chest back towards the thighs. You can stay here or work to kick one leg up at a time on an exhale breath. If kicking up, bring one leg in towards the chest, keeping it bent. Take an inhale breath, and on an exhale, kick the straight leg up by using the core to lift the leg. Option to kick both legs up towards the wall.
Once both feet are in the air, begin to articulate the posture. Press down through the palms and forearms, while rotating the upper arms outwards and creating more space across the upper back. Extend the tailbone towards the heels to take the “banana shape” out of the low back. Activate through the core, and draw the low belly in towards the spine. Lift and extend through the legs. Draw the inner thighs inwards towards each other and continue to breathe and grow taller. Create more length starting with the foundation, press down into the palms and forearms, and continue to extend length through the entire back, torso and out through the legs. Over time, you can practice kicking up with the opposite leg.
To come out of the posture: Gently bring the feet down to the ground and drop to the knees. Come into Child’s Pose and breathe. Notice how you feel after working to find balance in Forearm Balance. It can take time, determination and patience in order to build a strong foundation for this pose.
When we practice challenging postures on the yoga mat, we are able to apply the same qualities that we practice in finding strength and balance in the postures, in order to work through and manage challenging situations in our daily lives.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If
a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.