This weekend I crossed a pose off of my list of yoga goals. Finally I am able to hold Pincha Mayurasana, or for those of us who don'...

Yoga Milestone: Forearm Stand

     This weekend I crossed a pose off of my list of yoga goals. Finally I am able to hold Pincha Mayurasana, or for those of us who don't speak in yoga terms, a forearm stand. This is a pose that has been on my goal list since I started consistently doing yoga two and a half years ago. However, I only started consciously working on this pose at the beginning of this year, two and a half months ago.

     When I first started out doing yoga, I wanted to conquer all of the cool looking poses, but this is one that, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't accomplish without a wall. Eventually, I just stopped trying on this pose, and it fell off of my to-do list.

     This time around, I decided to skip the wall. I got my first headstand by just kicking up, and I figured I could do the same for a forearm stand. I was right. It may have taken me longer to learn it because I didn't use a wall, but I prefer it that way. In my opinion, a wall provides too much support, makes you too comfortable. When you don't use a wall, you are forced to learn your balance. Either that, or you fall. Even I spent the time building strength in my shoulders using a wall, when it came time to kick up, I would still have had to relearn my balance.

     I think the biggest challenge in learning the forearm stand was learning the upper body posture. To build the strength in your shoulders to support your whole body, you first have to get comfortable Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, dolphin pose. For me, there was a level of flexibility that my body had to learn in that pose as well. Initially, I felt uncomfortable with my shoulders at that angle. I was so used to having my head to help support my torso that craning my neck felt unnatural. I think that skipping dolphin pose the first time I tried to learn this pose is why I was unable to accomplish a forearm stand then. I grew to really love dolphin pose, and I especially loved doing the variation above with my yoga wheel.

     Now that I've built the strength in my shoulders, it's all about finding my balance as my feet leave the ground. For the past few weeks, I have been able to kick up and hold for a brief second before falling. I still can't hold the pose for very long, but I can officially hold it for a very wobbly four seconds. I still can't hold the pose every time that I try it, but! I have held the pose, so in my book this goal has been accomplished.

     Even though I can now "hold" the pose, I still have a lot of work to do. Now my practice will consist of getting comfortable enough to hold for multiple breaths, straightening my legs, and playing with other variations. I can't wait to see what my progress will look like over the next two and a half months.

- Kelsey

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