I never knew about a forearm stand until a few months ago. I obviously knew about a handstand, but not the forearm stand. As soon as I did learn about it, I tried many times, and failed many times. But this is what I do, experiment, constantly.
I’m hardly a yogi, but I have a lot of respect for the practice, and like to integrate some poses and flows when and where I can. Strength training is where I’m most experienced, but I find myself gravitating towards the yoga practice more and more.
During a recent trip to an intense 3-day yoga retreat in Miami, the second day of practice introduced the forearm stand. For someone that never goes to yoga class, I was apprehensive at first, but then decided to go for it. The following cues are all from our instructor Nadia Zaki (@constantlyevolving_nadiazaki). She made it possible.
1. Do more core activation before trying
What I learned is that you can’t just fling yourself up there. When everything is warm, more specifically, all of the muscles of the core, it’s a lot easier to stick once you get to the top.
2. Gaze towards my hands, not down into the ground
I can’t quite crack the code on why this helped, but it did. Every time I looked straight down, I wouldn’t get my legs far enough up. Once I gaze forward a little bit, everything clicked.
3. Tuck my elbows in closer to my body
This in a way goes with the core activation. I was letting my elbows flare a bit, which was throwing off my center of gravity, once I pulled them in, everything was much more stable.
4. Really sink my fingers into the ground
Sinking my fingers into the mat or ground gave me this sense that everything was actually grounded. When I concentrated there, I was glued to the ground and felt as though I could easily pull myself up.
5. Pull my legs and feet as close as possible to body
This was another very helpful one. For a while I was trying to fly up from the down-dog position, my core wasn’t activated enough, and I wasn’t in a stable position. Once I tip-toe’d my feet and legs closer to my torso, then tossed myself up, everything stuck.
6. Use the wall
The wall was my security blanket. I still need to use it from time to time. I constantly feel like I’m going to fall on my face, which I have a few times. When the wall is there, if you overshoot, it will save you. Once I got comfortable, I needed the wall less.
I always felt weird being upside down. I don’t have much of a problem with it when I do my bodyboarding, but when it comes to yoga and fitness, it’s still weird. Eventually, you’ve just got to commit. Fall on your face. Try again.
What’s next? Who knows? Maybe the handstand. I’m open to ideas. Thanks, Nadia.