Want a Challenge? Try This Forearm Stand Variation (Photo Tutorial)

Love going upside down? This variation of Forearm Stand, modeled by Cathy Madeo, is a nice and spicy, challenging alternative to a traditional Pincha Mayurasana.

Use this step-by-step yoga pose tutorial to give it a shot!

Ready to Completely Transform Your Inversion Practice? Do These 12 Core Exercises

Before Jumping Into This Pincha Mayurasana Variation, Find a Strong, Stable Base

Before you get started, you have to find a strong base. The positioning of your arms and shoulders in Pincha Mayurasana is one of the key necessities to achieving your Forearm Stand.

If your elbows are too wide, you risk injuring the shoulder joint, so ensure you get this alignment correct. Align them well to prevent injury and create a strong base for success.

To find the appropriate arm position for you, you can use a yoga block.

In a traditional Forearm Stand, you would place the block between your thumbs. But for this Triangle Base Forearm Stand, you can also move it between your elbows.

Practice These 4 Yoga Poses to Prepare for Forearm Stand

Here’s Your Step-by-Step Tutorial to Practice This Challenging Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana) Variation:


1. Set Your Base

Find stability first and foremost.

Let’s try it:

  • Bring your forearms onto the floor and place the yoga block between the two “L shapes” of your palms
  • While keeping your knees on the floor, squeeze your elbows in to activate your back and chest muscles and protect your shoulder
  • Once you feel confident in that, you can move the block between your elbows, squeezing it tightly
  • Draw one hand to your midline and stack the other on top of it – this can help you remember to squeeze your elbows in, which is a source of strength in this pose!



Pro Tip: You can perform the same movement without a block, but it’s a nice prop to use to feel the activation of the arms. (This applies for traditional Forearm Stand too.)

One of the most common misalignments in Forearm Stand is spreading the elbows wide and allowing the lats (upper back muscles) to become inactive.

So continue engaging your upper back and squeezing your elbows in so that your shoulders engage in the right spots.

2. Find Dolphin Pose

Now that you have your upper body aligned, you can add the lower body in.

So once you’ve mastered the arm alignment for Forearm Stand, start to add weight by straightening your legs into Dolphin Pose.

Let’s try it:

  • Come back into your Triangle Base Forearm position, with or without a block, with your knees on the floor
  • Inhale and lift your hips to the sky, straightening your legs
  • Squeeze your elbows in for this modified Dolphin Pose
  • Hold for five to 10 breaths, and then rest in Child’s Pose


3. Lift a Leg

If you feel comfortable and strong in Dolphin Pose, then it’s time to get a leg up – literally!

Let’s try it:

  • From Dolphin Pose, squeeze your elbows in and press your palms down into the floor
  • Inhale and lift one leg in the air. Start to stack it over your hips and shoulders
  • Hold for five to 10 breaths, and then rest in Child’s Pose
  • When you’re ready, repeat on the second side



4. Make It Float

After you’ve tried the one-legged version, it’s time to go for two! Remember that in this pose we never jump, we float the feet off the ground. This protects the shoulder joint.

Let’s try it:

  • Start on your hands and knees and take a deep breath in
  • From Dolphin Pose, tiptoe your feet forward until your toes barely touch the ground
  • Inhale and left one leg above your hips and shoulders
  • Lean slightly forward, send your gaze to your knuckles and start to lift the second set of toes off the ground
  • Continue to visually focus and breathe, and push your two feet up to the sky
  • Stay for five to 10 breaths, and then gently land your feet and rest in Child’s Pose

This 1 Tip Will Totally Transform Your Inversion Practice
Forearm Stand

Repeat, Rest, and Explore in Your Upside Down Pincha Mayurasana Practice!

Remember that this is a yoga practice, so you might have to try each of these steps a few times before they really stick.

Rest in between tries so that your heart rate can lower and your shoulder muscles can have a break. With repetition over time, you’ll be able to stick this Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana) variation with the best of them!


These classes will take your practice to the next level

Take one of these classes to elevate your practice and learn some new tricks. 

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Jewel Elizabeth

Jewel Elizabeth is a yoga teacher, writer and creator of Become Yoga School, Rock Solid: Pilates™ & Rock Solid: Yoga. She created Heated Pilates for Equinox and their international Pilates Mat Mentorship Program. She teaches for NEOU, Daily Burn and CorePower Yoga and created Yoga Alliance's newest-approved yoga teacher training program, Become Yoga School.


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