Want to Balance in Forearm Stand? A Yoga Sequence to Get You There
If you've already mastered how to do a Headstand, it's time to tackle the amazing Forearm Stand. What you need are a strong upper body and core, as well as open shoulders and hamstrings. Keep reading to learn how to target these areas so you'll be balancing in this Cirque du Soleil-like inversion in no time.
This simple pose will open your chest and shoulders.
- Begin seated on your shins.
- Interlace your hands behind you in a double fist, pressing the heels of your palms together. Pull your pressed palms toward the floor, opening through the chest and shoulders.
- After five breaths, release your hands.
This Camel variation will open the quads, abs, and shoulders.
- From the Seated Heart Opener Pose, lift your torso so you're standing on your knees.
- Reach your right hand back, placing it on your right heel or on the mat behind your right toes. Extend your left arm in the air.
- Shift weight forward onto your knees to increase the stretch in your quads, belly, and chest. Lower your head behind you and stay here for five breaths. Switch sides, holding for another five breaths, and then lift the torso up to release.
- Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the ground (heels as close as possible to your bum). Bend your elbows and place your palms flat on the ground above your shoulders, fingertips facing your feet.
- Inhale, press into your palms and lift your head, shoulders, and hips off the mat, straightening your arms and legs. Try to walk your hands and feet a little closer together.
- Stay here for five deep breaths and then slowly lower your body down. Repeat two more times. Hug your knees into your chest to release your lower back, and then roll up to a seated position.
It's time to loosen up those hamstrings and lower back with this forward-bend variation.
- From a seated position, separate your legs into a wide straddle with three to four feet between your heels. Sit with a tall spine or slowly fold forward at your hips, pressing your belly button and chest forward to prevent your back from rounding.
- Either support the weight of your torso with your hands on your legs or feet, or rest them out in front of you.
- After five breaths, lift your torso up, place your hands firmly at the front of your mat, step your legs behind you and come into Downward Facing Dog.
Forearm Stand requires amazing upper body and core strength, and here's a pose to target both those areas.
- From Downward Facing Dog, shift your weight forward so your shoulders are over your wrists.
- One at a time, lower your forearms to the floor with your palms facing down. Place your elbows where your hands were, and spread your fingers wide. You want your body to be in one straight line, with your heels over your toes.
- Draw your belly button toward your spine. Keep the muscles in your tush relaxed, draw your shoulders away from your ears, and gaze between your hands.
- Hold like this for five complete breaths. Then come back onto your hands and press back into Downward Facing Dog.
Your abs aren't the only part of your core. Here's a Locust variation to strengthen your entire back.
- Lie on your belly, extending your arms straight in front of you.
- Inhale to lift your legs, head, and upper body off the floor. As you breathe, extend the crown of your head away from your toes, lengthening as much as you can through your spine. Keep your shoulders relaxed and lift your arms and legs as high as possible.
- Stay for five breaths and then release back to the mat.
This backbending pose will strengthen the backside of your body, as well as open your chest and shoulders.
- While lying on your belly, bend your knees and hold onto the outside edge of your right ankle and then your left. Once you have a firm hold of each ankle, flex both feet, pulling your feet away from you to increase the stretch in your chest and shoulders.
- Lift your feet up as high as you can and shift your weight forward so you're resting on your naval instead of on your pubic bone.
- Hold for five deep breaths and then slowly release. Work your way back to Downward Facing Dog.
Here's a pose to strengthen your upper body and loosen tight hamstrings.
- From Down Dog, spread your fingers wide and lower your forearms to the mat. Check to make sure you're creating a straight line between your elbows and middle fingers. Try to straighten your legs and lower your heels toward the ground.
- Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze between your palms. Hold for five breaths.
One-Legged Quarter Dog
We're getting closer! This Quarter Dog variation will continue strengthening your arms and give you a sense of what it's like to balance more weight on your forearms.
- From Quarter Dog, step both feet together so your big toes are touching. Keeping your shoulders parallel with the ground, slowly raise your right leg into the air. Continue pressing your left heel toward the floor, gazing between your hands.
- After five breaths, switch sides, lifting the left leg. Then release, resting your arms in Child's Pose.
Forearm Stand Split
Now that your chest, shoulders, and hamstrings are open, and you've done some poses to strengthen you're upper body and core, you're ready to tackle Forearm Stand. This is a prep pose to help you learn how to balance on your forearms.
- From Quarter Dog, walk your toes as close as you can toward your elbows (this is where flexible hamstrings are essential). Step both feet together, raising your right leg into the air, coming into One-Legged Quarter Dog.
- Gaze between your palms, not at your feet. Keep your legs in split position, bend your left knee slightly and take a tiny hop so your left foot comes off the ground. Take a few small hops to get the feel of what it's like to have all your weight in your forearms.
- Then take a larger hop, coming to balance on your forearms with your legs in a split position. Actively pull your toes away from each other to help you balance. Keep your core strong and make sure your elbows aren't sliding apart.
- After five breaths, lower your legs to the floor, take a break in Child's Pose if you need to, and then repeat with the left leg lifted for another five breaths.
Now you're ready to tackle the final pose. If you're nervous about falling, move your mat in front of a wall.
- Come into Quarter Dog, and then move into Forearm Stand Split Pose with your right leg lifted. Once you're balancing with your legs in split position, slowly scissor them together, balancing with your feet above your hips in Forearm Stand. Tuck your tailbone and ribs in to help you stay balanced, and keep your arms parallel.
- After five breaths lower your feet into Quarter Dog Pose and try coming into this pose with the left leg lifted.
- Lower into Child's Pose and rest for five or more breaths.