Let me start the post with a story.
Among my Yogi friends who do Yoga with me regularly, there's Elin. Elin happened to go to a Pole dance course with me in Malmö Dansakademi too.
One day, she told me about this new class in the Dansakademi, the class was about acrobatic styled tricks and contortion. They did inversions like handstand, forearm stand, and such. On telling me about how fun it was, Elin said ¨I guess you are already very good at those¨.
So I had to confess that I can't do a proper Handstand or Forearm Stand yet. I'm practicing them, yes, but I'm not there yet.
Anyway, Elin is going away for 6 months to do a volunteer job in Africa. I have made a self promise, but now I'm saying this out loud: Elin, when you will be back, I will have done Handstand and Forearm Stand!
At least Forearm Stand! I'm very close now, hahaha.
And now, is how I make Forearm Stand easier to access in my everyday Asana practice.
STARTING WITH DOLPHIN POSE
Dolphin Pose is the foundation step to Forearm Stand. It's actually already very tough to hold, especially for people who are new to Yoga or have tight shoulders. So instead of Forearm Stand, you can do a Dolphin Pose and just stay there for long enough to feel the weight putting on your arms in that position.
I and most people who go to my beginner-friendly Yoga classes will need to bend the knees and lift the heels off the ground in order to keep the spine in a line. This is because we have short hamstrings that pull the pelvis bone back and down. What we find is a straight spine position so that eventually we can stack the hip right above the shoulders, and that's how we bear weight in Forearm Stand. You can try both variations of the arms: Forearms parallel, and clasping hands. However, do practice the parallel forearms more because that's the shape of Forearm Stand.
It's hard to hold Dolphin Pose for long because our elbows tend to move away from each other while in order to keep a stable position for the shoulder joints in this deep flexion, we need to externally rotate the shoulders, which in normal words mean ¨hug your elbows in¨ - I guess you have heard about this sometimes. You can use a block to train your body to do this action. Put the block between your index fingers of both hands, or between your elbows. One block works perfectly for me, however, if you have larger shoulders, you may need 2 blocks and choose the sides of blocks so that their length will be suitable for your body.
Once you have been quite stable in Dolphin Pose, and can feel your arms start holding more weight that your feet, you can move on to some modifications of Forearm Stand.
EASY FOREARM STAND
Use a wall, it makes the practice so much safer. Then you can choose a starting position between heading toward the wall and heading away from the wall.
1. Heading away from the wall: L-SHAPED FOREARM STAND
This modification is very safe, no jumping, no kicking, and no falling.
Start with your forearms and knees on the floor. The elbows should be around a leg-distance to the wall. You can prepare a block like I'm doing in the photo. Stack your shoulders right on the top of your elbows, and start walking your feet up to the wall to as high as your hip and start bringing your hip away from the ground and the wall. When your hip starts stacking on to your shoulders, you will feel it very heavy on the forearms.
You can stay here, or make it harder by leaving the heels and only touching the toes to the wall. Or bring one leg up.
2. Heading to the wall: KICK TO FOREARM STAND
Start with your knees and forearm on the floor too, but heading toward the wall.
You can see that in the pictures, I'm having a strap around my arms. This is to keep my elbows from going away from each other. I don't suggest doing this, because the real force should come from our own muscles strength to hug the elbows in (or externally rotating the shoulder joints). However, if you are new to the kicking, you can use strap here to feel and be more secured. Make the strap a bit smaller than your shoulders, and wear it right above your elbows.
Raise one leg up, while lift the other heel off the ground. Bend your knee to make some momentum and start jumping while still keep this shape.
When you kick high enough, maybe one leg can be on the wall. Some good controls on your legs, then perhaps you can hold your legs together in the air.
And that is where I stop. I can't keep my legs straight in the air for now. That's why I have Linh my Yoga teacher friend in Vietnam modeling for me.
However, there's more you can do from this practice with the wall:
SCORPION POSE OR PINCHA MAYURASANA
If you can keep both feet on the wall, you can walk the feet along the wall. ATTENTION: It leads to a BIG backbend, so be aware!
WARNING: Pretty safe, DO try these at home, but after thoroughly warming up your body strength, flexibility and mobility, especially at the shoulders and upper back area! Stop at any step towards Forearm Stand - you will go to the next step when your body is ready.
Thank you for reading! More about how to Prop Up Inversions in Yoga:
About Inversion in Yoga - Halasana: Plow Pose
Shoulder Stand - Salamba Sarvanganasana
Handstand in Yoga - Adho Mukha Vrkasana
Sirsasana - Tripod Headstand
Sirsasana - ¨Traditional¨ Headstand
See how I use basic Yoga props to do ANY Yoga poses in my Prop Up Project:
Yoga Poses in the Sun Salutations
Prop Up Project from Ha My Yoga to help you do more than 80 Yoga poses easier and more effectively with simple Yoga props like block, strap, wall, blanket, bolster, etc. So you can really enjoy doing Yoga!
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