Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fabulous Forearm Stand: The Inversion You're Overlooking

Headstand and handstand tend to get all the glory. They're beautiful and showy and, let's face it, fun. They're like the homecoming king and queen of asanas, drawing the envy of many and illustrating that popularity can open doors, in this case, to studios and yoga classes all over the world, where these poses are practiced, demonstrated, scrutinized, studied, and refined. Teachers and students, alike, feel an attraction to them; we want to show the world that we're acquainted with poses at the top of a percieved pecking order.

Less popular but equally as fun is forearm stand, which is more of a class president type, grounded and foreward-thinking; this pose maintains the benefits of the other two more conventional inversions but also accesses a deeper kind of strength in the upper back, shoulders, and abdomen. In reality, neither is better than the other; I just think forearm stand deserves a little more love.

To get started, familiarize yourself with dolphin pose (downward dog but with forearms on the ground). Then, set up against a wall (finger tips can just barely touch the baseboard of the wall). Be vigilant about the shoulder-width of your arms (do not let your forearms creep inward!). Kick your legs up to the wall; be gentle. Don't kick like a donkey. Activate your core, and wrap your shoulders away from your ears. If you want to attempt to balance, draw your gaze between your hands.

Notice how grounded you feel. Imagine drawing energy and power up from the floor. When you tire, rest convienently in child's pose. If this is too advanced, try facing the opposite direction and walking your feel up the wall; this way, you will experience the pose and generate power in your shoulders while still maintaining a stable connection with your feet against the wall (legs parallel to the earth, eventually).

Try it today; let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Deryk Ng said...

Hi, my name is Deryk.
I started doing handstand with the assistance of the wall.
I tried doing freestyle handstand, but I couldn't maintain the balance.
Then, I take up Yoga and learn all the basics under a few Yoga instructors.
Then, I tried forearm inversion stand, I could hold it for 30 seconds (best record so far on 16th Sept).

Everyday I am looking forward to practise it, the feelings are indescribable.
It's fun and surreal at the same time.

The link shows my earlier attempt, lasting for 10 seconds.