While you do not have to be Sylvester Stallone to rock this pose, I encourage you to channel his persistence, patience, and practice. As the story goes, Stallone was rejected over 1,500 times before he started making moves in the movie business. He never wavered from his dream, even when it cost him dearly.
As you work your way towards Funky Forearm Stand, channel his energy, determination, and ability to keep trying. This tricky asymmetrical arm balance can be a place where you roll your eyes and say another lifetime, or it can be a springboard for you to decide to lift yourself to a new level and challenge your core, arms, shoulders, and balance in a different way. It is your practice, have fun!
Funky Forearm Stand is a sister asana to Pincha Mayurasana. Successively, if you can easily practice Pincha Mayurasana, then Funky Forearm Stand will be in your asana wheelhouse in no time. For those of us still working out Pincha, practice the first four preparatory poses for a few weeks before you move on.
As always, warm up is essential to keep you safe, starting with a traditional 3-5 Surya Namaskar A (Sun Salutations A) and 3-5 Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutation B) can help you find your center before you play around.
1. Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose)
Before you can safely kick up into a stunning Funky Forearm Stand, it is critical for your foundation to be rock solid. Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana is the perfect place to start because it requires your entire body to be strong and engaged, and it prepares the shoulders and forearms to work. Holding this pose for a minute will be enough for the first week of practice.
Yogi Tip: Keep lifting the thighs as the hips sink so you can work your front and back body evenly and protect your lower spine.
2. Ardha Bhujangasana (Baby Cobra)
Ardha Bhujangasana is a backbend with a lot of heart. Use the anterior deltoids to lift the chest, in practice with the collarbones spreading, to invite an intense heart opener. The back muscles centralize to the spine to support the lift and the back body.
Yogi Tip: To engage the lower body, focus on the tops of the feet pressing down to the ground and gently lifting the kneecaps.
3. Half Dolphin & Half Chaturanga Pose
As humans, we are in the constant pursuit of balance and Funky Forearm Stand challenges sense of stability. This preparatory pose builds strength in your arms as they are in formation for Funky Forearm Stand, while keeping the feet on the ground to work on strength-building with less risk of falling. The body will be in an inverted V-shape similar to Adho Mukha Svanasana, the arms will be in prep position.
Yogi Tip: Focus on lifting the hips and spine to take weight out of the shoulders and arms.
4. Down Dog Forearm Taps
My first yoga class, I was in Down Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana for two seconds before I face-planted on my mat. If you are like me, you need time to get used to AMS and to build strength in your shoulders and arms. If however, you have been practicing for a while, let us take some time forearm taps to the mat.
The goal is that both forearms land parallel and at the same time on the mat and that equal weight from the hands is used to lift the arms back into AMS.
Yogi Tip: To help keep quality in this movement, tie a strap (shoulder distance apart) around the upper forearms to keep the elbows in line.
5. Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand/Feathered Peacock)
Before we throw in the wrench that Funky Forearm Stand is asymmetrical in nature, practice Pincha Mayurasana without all the bells and whistles. When you can hold this for a minute with the legs glued together and energy constantly lifting up and out of the arms, I challenge you to post a photo to DOYOUYOGA! We want to hear about your practice.
You have already accomplished so much, and you are amazing. Now if you are hungry for more, we continue to break down Funky Forearm Stand.
Step-By-Step Guide to Funky Forearm Stand
1. Asymmetrical Arm Alignment
Set up your roots, look to preparatory pose #3: the arms will be in Half Dolphin and Half Chaturanga position. It’s important here to find the arms shoulder distance apart and the palm of the hand in Half Chaturanga aligned with the elbow in Half Dolphin.
Yogi Tip: To support the shoulders, channel Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion, specifically how it speaks of the power of the pushback. The more you push down through your arms, the more support you will receive and pushback from the earth to lift the shoulders and body away.
2. Hips High
Focus here on getting your hips over your shoulders as far as possible. It is essential to elongate both sides of your body even though your arms are doing two different actions.
Yogi Tip: The higher your hips start over your shoulders, the easier it will be to balance because there will be less change of shape in the pose. The higher the hips, the less momentum and more strength there will be in this inverted shape.
3. Lift Off to Funky Forearm Stand
Practice by kicking up into this by focusing first on the heel reaching toward the sky, then opening up into Hanumanasana legs if you want to try something different. Want the ultimate core challenge? See if you can lift both legs together and up! When you get there, let us know, you are a rockstar!
Funky Forearm Stand is just one playful place to take your practice. Currently, I am working from Funky Forearm Stand to Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 with asymmetrical arms. Where could you take this pose?
Image credit: Ania