How to Do Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Woman on yoga mat doing 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 itself and is good preparation for even more challenging backbends and arm balances. Getting the feel for kicking up can take some time, especially if you're new to inversions. With practice, you will build your confidence.

Benefits

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.

Step-by-Step Instructions

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 down on your mat throughout this posture. 
  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. Swing your lifted leg for a little momentum 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.
  1. If you are able to get both legs up and invert fully, begin 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.
  2. Come down and rest in Child's Pose (Balasana).

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. Using a strap looped over your upper arm near the elbow can help.

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 Sun Salutations can help prepare your shoulders.

Modifications and Variations

Props can be very helpful in this pose. You can also deepen this pose once you are comfortable with it.

Need a Modification?

Place a block at the wall. Make an "L" shape with the thumbs of each hand (the right hand will be a backward "L"). 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. 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.

Up for a Challenge?

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.

Safety and Precautions

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

Try It Out

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

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