Going upside down is one of the most exhilarating parts of the yoga practice and makes us feel young and heart. Not to mention, inversions help bring blood flow to the brain and increase our energy. I always feel giddy after kicking my feet over my head in Handstands or Forearm Stand.
A forearm balance is the perfect inversion for beginners to start practicing. If you’re not used to going upside down at all, I suggest you sign up to the free 30 Day Yoga Challenge. It will help you build up your strength and your confidence, both of which are essential for inversions!
Forearm Stand insures you can do a Headstand safely (you’ve developed the upper body strength needed), gives you confidence, strengthens your core and upper body, and teaches you how to find your center once you’re upside down.
Also, Forearm Stand is a lot easier than it looks; but it's also so eye-catching, so you can show it off to all of your friends!
Solidify Your Core with Plank
First, develop your core strength by holding forearm plank 30 to 60 seconds 3 to 4 times on a daily basis. You'll notice this pose pays off in a lot of different postures, so get ready to feel the benefits throughout the rest of your practice as you strengthen your core.
Use Your Props
I highly recommend two props to help you learn forearm balance: a block and a yoga strap. The strap around the upper arms really helps support the pose and the block keeps you firmly planting your hands in to the floor. If you don’t have these, you can substitute with a belt and a book.
Make a loop in your yoga strap (or belt) and place it around your upper arms above your elbows. The strap keeps your elbows together and gives you something to brace against when finding your balance. I also love how the strap helps us keep our scapula up our back and engaged.
Once you have the belt around your arms, place a block (or book) between your hands and spread through your fingers wide. Your thumbs should be on the inside and the fingers on the outside edges.
Practice Your Kicks
If you feel safer at a wall, you can place the block at the wall and work on kicking up there. I personally love for people to get a sense of it in the center of the room right from the beginning; but being that this can be somewhat scary, you’re more than welcome to use a wall.
Come in to a Forearm Dog with the strap around the upper arms and the hands around the block and walk your feet in a little bit closer. Lift one leg up in the air as high as you can then donkey kick the opposite foot up as if you’re trying to kick your heel to your butt. Practice the donkey kicks 5 on each side.
Start doing this daily and eventually you will kick right up into forearm balance. Make sure to look forward on the floor slightly and engage your abs to lengthen out of your back. The tendency is to become too much of a banana once upside down.
With a little diligence and patience, you'll be kicking up and staying before you know it. Good luck with this balance! Let me know how it's going in the comment section.
Image/Yogi Credit: Kristin McGee