How to Do Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana): Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Forearm stand

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Also Known As: Bent Arm Balance, Feathered Peacock Pose

Targets: Core, arms, shoulders, balance

Level: Advanced

The Forearm Stand is a balancing inversion. It is an advanced pose and is good preparation for even more challenging backbends and arm balances. Getting a feel for kicking up can take some time, especially if you're new to inversions. With practice, you will build your confidence.

How to Do Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana) in Yoga

Bring your mat over to a wall.

  1. Come to your hands and knees facing the wall. Your fingertips should be pretty close to the wall. (An inch or two away is good. This is so when you kick up and your heels are on the wall, your spine is as vertical as possible).
  2. Bend your elbows to bring your forearms and palms flat against the floor. Your upper arms should be perpendicular to the forearms. Your gaze should be should be forward and down.
  3. Curl your toes under and lift your hips to come into a Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) position with your legs. This position is sometimes called Dolphin (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana) or Puppy pose.
  4. Walk your feet in toward your elbows as much as possible. Ideally, your hips will come over your shoulders.
  5. Lift your dominant leg (the one you like to lead with) to a Down-Dog Split (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana) position. 
  6. Exhale and bend the knee of the leg that is still on the floor. Kick the lifted leg with the foot flexed as your bottom leg hops up. Try to land both heels softly on the wall. Note that the head stays up off the floor. Keep your gaze on the floor between your hands.
  7. Engaging the core and "hug" the ribs in.
  8. If you are able to get both legs up and invert fully, continue to work on engaging your core so you can remove your feet from the wall one at a time and balance independently. Remain in the pose one to five minutes, breathing slowly and deeply.
  9. Come down and rest in Child's Pose (Balasana).

When you can do the pose on the wall very consistently begin to attempt to move into the center of the room. The method is essentially the same but you must have a lot of strength to control your ascent.

Benefits of Forearm Stand

The Forearm Stand strengthens the arms, shoulders, core, and back. Practicing it improves your balance and helps you overcome your fear of falling. As an inversion, you will get increased blood flow to the brain, which may help relieve stress. In yoga tradition, inversions open the third eye chakra to improve your mental abilities.

Inversions like the forearm stand are thought to benefit the cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, and endocrine systems. The forearm stand can also provide musculoskeletal benefits, including strengthened spinal muscles and improved spine alignment.

Other Variations of Forearm Stand

You can perform this exercise in different ways to meet your skill level and goals.

Forearm Stand with Block

A block (used between the hands) can be very helpful in this pose.

  1. Place a block on the floor at the wall.
  2. Make an "L" shape with the thumbs of each hand (the right hand will be a backward "L").
  3. Place your hands around the block so that your thumbs are on the front of the block and the forefingers are on the sides with the palms flat on the floor.
  4. Press your hands firmly into the block and the floor as you kick up.

Straps are also helpful. Adjust the strap so that the loop is as wide as your shoulders. Slide the loop onto your arms just above the elbow to keep the arms from splaying out to the sides. Once you feel comfortable kicking up using the block and the strap, begin to wean yourself from these props.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these errors in this pose.

Splayed Elbows

Making sure that the elbows stay in line with the shoulders and do not splay out to the sides is often difficult for beginners. If you have one available, use a block. Place the block horizontally on the mat and place hands on the mat shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers wide and align the thumb and pointer finger to frame the block. Adduct your your arms with the help of the block to keep your shoulders parallel.

Sinking Into Shoulders

When coming down from the pose, try to keep your should blades lifted rather than sinking into them.

Banana Shape

Balancing on your forearms restricts how much you can flex your shoulder joints. As a result, your core and back may compensate too much and you can extend too far into a backbend. As a result, your body is then shaped like a banana in this pose. A good warmup with boat pose crunches (or another core warmup) can help prepare your shoulders.

Safety and Precautions

Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure, headache, heart conditions, and any injury to your back, shoulder, or neck. Traditionally, inversions are avoided during menstruation, but this is not medically-based advice. Inversions do not have to be avoided for medical reasons during menstruation.

During pregnancy, it may be best to avoid inversions like the forearm stand due to fall risks. Speak to your doctor before attempting forearm stands while pregnant.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Waldia, Vineeta, et al. A review study on effects of yoga inversions with special reference to sirshasana. International Journal of Creative Research Thoughts. April 2018.

By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.