Pincha Mayurasana--Feathered Peacock/Forearm Balance

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My all-time favorite inversion is Forearm Balance. Early in my practice I dedicated a lot of time to figuring out the posture. It was the first posture that showed me that time, patience, and commitment are essential in a yoga practice. Now it's a posture I feel light and stable in. It's a beautiful feeling. 

Pinch Mayurasana is challenging for many reasons. If you have limited range of motion in your shoulders or if you're lacking strength in your shoulders this can be a frustrating posture. Again, it's a posture that requires time and patience. There's a lot I can share about Pincha Mayurasana, but there's one little tip I'd like to share with you in this post. 

Using a block is a really helpful tool to when working on Forearm Balance. For the longest time I used the block between my thumb and index fingers with my palms down on my mat. The squeeze into the block with my hands forced the muscles around my shoulders to kick on and the block gave me a clear boundary on where to keep my hands and elbows. Then everything changed when my teacher told me to turn my hands around and place the backs of my hands on my mat and squeeze into the block with my pinkies. Game changer!!

Lots of shoulder activation with this variation. Don't mind that I favor my right side and I'm a bit lopsided. 

Lots of shoulder activation with this variation. Don't mind that I favor my right side and I'm a bit lopsided. 

It's definitely a more challenging option, but it gave me more information about how to effectively use my shoulders. When your palms are down on your mat your hands will stay framed around the block, but it's very easy for your elbows to splay out which leaves room for lots of error. This approach limits the elbows from splaying apart giving you a more stable base. 

Full disclosure, when I first tried this approach I very loudly said, "This feels terrible!" It felt terrible because it just felt different. Why not give it a shot? Try it against the wall at first as it is much harder to balance without using your fingertips to grip your mat. Be sure to squeeze your pinkies into your block and press down through your forearms. 

Let me know how it works for you!