Have you ever been telling your friend about a yoga class you took and been annoyed when their response was “I just don’t think yoga is a real workout”. Well so have we, and we 100% attribute it to people not fully understanding the small intricate movements that force them to work a lot harder in each pose.
Our pose breakdown series shows a visual of the big cues you should be focusing on, as well as highlighting the benefits and risks of the featured poses. Feel free to share with your skeptical friends to help them advance their own practices.
Pincha Mayurasana, also known as forearm balance is one of the many inversions that you can try. This yoga pose is very difficult as you need both strength and balance. Pincha helps keep the upper body supple as well as strengthening the shoulders, upper back and arms. Many practitioners often dive into this pose without understanding the importance of the foundation. The foundation is in the palms, wrists and forearms, and they should be parallel and shoulder width apart.
The shoulder girdle should be the main focus when attempting this pose. You should be drawing the trapezius muscles away from the neck, firming the shoulder blades into the back ribs and keeping the front ribs soft (think downward dog). Wrap the bottom tips of the shoulder blades toward the side ribs to reinforce and stabilize the extension from shoulder to hip.
Most people have a tendency to dump into their lower back in this pose. We counteract that by extending the flesh of the buttocks away from the back waist (avoiding excessive anterior tilt in the pelvis).
Another common problem we see is the elbows splaying wider than shoulder width apart and the hands folding in toward each other.
If this is a pose you are dying to learn we suggest working up to it by holding dolphin and walking your feet in towards your hands and holding it for as long as possible to build strength in the shoulders and serratus. You can also practice holding forearm balance against the wall but suggest working with an instructor first to ensure you have the proper alignment.
Check out these tutorials to help you master Pincha Mayurasana: