One quick tip about Forearm Balance (Pincha Mayurasana)
When you bend your elbows in and place them on the floor, it becomes much harder to flex your shoulder joints (stay with me, I’ll explain practically below so you can feel it your body). This means that most students feel tighter and more restricted in their shoulders in Forearm Balance compared to Handstand. Yes, Forearm Balance has certain advantages that Handstand doesn’t. However, for many students it can be very challenging to get the upper-arms, shoulders, and ribs vertically stacked in Forearm Balance. When the shoulders don’t flex easily, the core and spine compensate by moving too far into extension. Here’s another way of saying the same thing: when the shoulders don’t flex enough, the spine and core compensate by moving too far into a backbend – so your body is in a banana shape.
So, instead of just focusing on strengthening your core, my tip for this pose is to focus on creating more shoulder flexion by doing three things:
1. Stretch your triceps and lats
2. Stretching your rhomboids and traps
3. Stretching your pecs and anterior deltoids
This sounds like a lot, but it’s not rocket science. The warm-up below lists the postures that work best.
It’s a good idea to warm up your entire body with a few Sun Salutations before you focus on preparing your shoulders. Any kind of salutation will do the trick. Once you’ve done a few rounds, sit on the floor in Sukhasana or Vajrasana. Then the following four shoulder openers:
1) Half-Down Dog (hands on a wall or on a chair), Dolphin Pose, and Gomukhasana to stretch your triceps and lats
2) Cat Pose and Garudasana to stretch your rhomboids and traps
3) Fingers interlaced and arms straight behind your back to stretch your chest and the front of your shoulders
4) Handstand is also a great all-around preparation if it’s part of your repertoire.
Then head into your Pincha Maryasana practice with a wall space handy. This week’s vinyasa practice will talk you through it. Feel free to pause and rewind as you need so that you can really secure the foundations. Here are some tips:
- Once you’ve got your shoulders set you need to then stack your ribs, hips, legs and feet over them.
- If you’re still building mobility and strength, keep both feet down and gently lean the ribs and hips over the shoulders and forearms by coming onto your tiptoes. Hover forward and back until you fatigue then rest in child’s pose.
- Repeat when you’re ready and maybe try lifting one leg at a time, keeping the hips square.
- If and when you’re ready hopping to the other foot will give you a feel for being in the full expression of the pose.
- Please honour your body and it’s limitations by stopping at any of these steps and practising to where you are at. This approach to your practice will keep you safe and you will know when you’re ready to progress.
- There are so many benefits to dolphin pose so really secure this first