Forearm stand was one of the first daunting inversions I “took on” in my practice. Lets be honest, anything that involves “standing” with two feet in the air is daunting! Personally for me, I remember being so determined to figure this one out, despite my history of dislocated shoulder issues. Straps, workshops, partner work…I put in the work to build up the shoulder strength to make this pose a reality.
July was all about mastering forearm stand in my classes, plus some fun variations! Using props, like the block, can be a total game changer. Ready? =)
Step One: Set up your block.
Most people will use the wider edge, but some of us with narrower shoulders (like me) prefer to use the shorter edge. Making two “L”s with your hands, line up elbow to wrist on your mat and squeeze the block until you feel your shoulders engage. Keeping that engagement, press the elbows away from each other. You’ll feel that extra skin on your elbows squish IN and lock your elbows OUT.
Step Two: Find dolphin pose.
Think downward facing dog, except on your forearms. Walk the feet in as far as you can, getting your butt in the air while continuing to to squeeze the block and press the elbows out.
Step Three: Shift your gaze forward.
Always know where you’re going! If you look behind you, you’re more likely to flip over. Keep your gaze forward on your thumbs or the edge of your block and lift your favorite leg as high as you can. Now a little higher!
Step Four: Shift more, kick less.
Block is squeezed. Elbows are pressing out. Now the fun part! Activate the lifted leg, and think about shifting more weight into your forearms. Use your fingers! As you shift forward, work on bringing the back leg into your chest and engaging your core as your lift.
Step Five: Play with it.
Once you get that back leg up and begin to balance, maybe you start to straighten both legs. Continue to keep the arms engaged, doing your best to press the floor away and lengthen your torso by knitting your ribs together. Don’t forget about the elbows and squeezing the block! Once both legs are up, SQUEEZE! Zip the legs together – the more active you are, the more stable you’ll feel.
IF you fall on your head, you WILL NOT DIE! Promise. The block is in the way for this variation, but I often teach my students to tuck their chin and fall into forearm wheel – once you do it, you’ll realize its not as scary as you thought. Most importantly, have fun. Remember its just yoga! If it doesn’t magically work the first time, keep going!
Feel free to reach out with questions <3
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