If standing on your head has become easy for you, it's time to move on to a more challenging inversion — the Forearm Stand. This pose has a lot to do with shoulder and upper back strength, but it's also about engaging your core muscles. If you try kicking up with two legs at a time the momentum of both legs going up often makes you topple over. So here's a simple approach to help you find your balance.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Lower onto your forearms. To measure how far apart your arms need to be, grab a hold of opposite elbows with your hands (so your forearms are parallel with the front of your mat). Now straighten your arms so your fingers are facing away from you, creating a straight line between your elbows, forearms, and middle fingers. Try to keep your arms parallel, and don't let your elbows slide out to the sides (or you'll end up doing a face-plant).
- Walk your feet as close as you can toward your head and gaze between your hands — not at your feet.
- Now lift your right leg straight up. Stay here or work on taking little hops. Do this by bending your left knee slightly, and popping off the ball of your left foot. Keep your right leg lifted and work on holding your legs in split position (see above photo).
- Once you've found your balance, you can work on scissoring your legs together. Tucking your tailbone and your ribs in will help you stay stable. Work your way up to holding for five breaths.
- Lower your feet and practice kicking up with your left leg.
- Release onto your hands and knees and come into Child's Pose to rest.
If you're feeling very unstable and nervous about working on Forearm Stand, try this yoga sequence to help build the strong upper body and core, as well as open shoulders and hamstrings you need for this inversion.