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Step-By-Step Breakdown: Forearm Stand


When you think about it, in forearm stand, you have all of your forearms and your hands to balance your weight on—that’s so much more surface area than just your hands in all of those arm balances, and even more than your feet. So really, forearm stand should be easier than standing! And it can be. Here’s how:

Warm up by doing a few rounds of cat/cow, followed by some back-bending sun salutations: Try for three rounds on each side. Then be sure that your core is nice and activated by doing 10 repetitions of boat and low boat pose. Now you are ready to get started!


Shoulder Opener at Wall: Place your forearms on the wall parallel to one another below shoulder height, keeping your elbows shoulder-distance apart (you can measure this by grabbing opposite elbows). Take a few steps back from the wall and allow your head to relax down between your arms. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths.

 Hero’s Pose with Cow Face Arm Variation: Start kneeling and if it feels good, use your hands on the ground on either side of you as support as you widen your heels until your sitz bones are on the ground between your feet (you can also sit up on a block here). Reach your right arm toward the ceiling and bend your right elbow, allowing your hand to fall between your shoulder blades. Bending your left elbow, reach your left hand up your back and clasp your right hand. (You can also use a yoga strap or even a towel between your hands to make this more comfortable.) Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, then release your arms and repeat on the other side.
 Crescent Lunge with Reverse Prayer Arm Variation: From down dog, step your right foot forward, tap your left knee down, and reach your arms high to frame your face. Release your arms down on either side of you and, bending your elbows, reach your arms behind your back and press your palms together like you’re praying on your spine, reaching that prayer as high up your spine as feels good. (If that is too much on your shoulders, grab opposite elbows with your hands behind your back.) Breathe here for 5 deep breaths and then repeat with your left leg forward.
 Dolphin Push-ups: From all fours, place your forearms on the ground shoulder-distance apart, then tuck your toes and lift your hips. From here, start to reach your chin toward your thumbs on an inhale, coming almost to a forearm plank but not quite since your feet are too close to your elbows for that. Use your exhale to lift back to dolphin, raising your hips back toward the ceiling. Do 10 reps and then rest in child’s pose. (If you feel like forearm stand is strenuous for you right now, dolphin push-ups are a fantastic way to build strength in your upper body.)
 Forearm Stand Prep: From dolphin, walk your feet toward your elbows, lift your right leg toward the ceiling, and breathe for 5 deep breaths. Repeat with your left leg. As you get more comfortable, do this several times on each side, walking your feet an inch closer to your elbows each round.
 Forearm Stand: From dolphin, walk your feet toward your elbows and lift your right leg toward the ceiling. Come onto the ball of your left foot and start to rock forward and eventually lift both legs off the ground. (You can also do this against a wall.) Try to stay here for 5 deep breaths. And remember to have fun—you are upside down!

Photos: Vera Boykewich


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