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A Shoulder Opening Sequence to Forearm Balance

30 Minute Forearm Stand Sequence | Forearm Balance Pincha Mayurasana Sequence | Jason Crandell Vinyasana Yoga Method


This sequence leading to Forearm Stand focuses on creating greater range of movement in your shoulders. Tightness in the shoulders—particularly flexion of the shoulder joint—will distort the spine, pelvis, and legs. More often than not, these distortions produce a banana shape in the posture. When the vertical integrity of the posture is lost because the body has moved into a banana shape, it’s harder to sustain the posture because the rest of your body is overworking to compensate. Core strength can minimize this banana shape pattern, but it’s important to work at the root of the problem, which is almost always the shoulders.

Poses 1-4 will stretch your shoulders and upper back and prepare you for the demands of Handstand and Pincha Mayurasana or Forearm Balance. I included two postures to stretch your rhomboids—Garudasana Arms and Cat Pose—because these postures help your scapulae and allow rotate more easily. Scapular rotation essential for all postures that take your arms overhead, especially inversions.

Poses 5-6 begin to warm up your entire body. Down Dog continues to stretch your shoulders and arms, while the Low Lunge with your fingers interlaced releases tension on the front of your shoulders, abs, and hip-flexors.

Poses 7-10 introduce balancing postures to the sequence. I always find that standing balances prior to hand balances help remind me to go slow and focus on my contact points with the floor. This helps prepare my mind for the demands of hand balances. Reverse Warrior is a nice inclusion in this sequence because it releases tension in the side body, especially the lats. Tension in the lats is one of the largest obstacles to Forearm Balance.

Two more things about Forearm Stand:

First, when you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you a free downloadable PDF of the sequence above.

And second, for a more detailed look at alignment instructions for Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana), you can check out this tutorial.

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}


    1. Hi Maxine, It’s Andrea. I believe you just have to re-enter your email address and it will automatically send to you. Don’t worry, you won’t be subscribed to the newsletter twice 🙂 Let me know if you still have trouble!

  1. I have loved following you all these years in Yoga Journal and have always learned so much from you. Your voice, your perspective and your attention to safety first make you so easy to listen to and learn from. Thank you for being such a great resource! I am happy to stay connected with you through facebook and now through email. In gratitude.

  2. Hi Jason!
    Thank you for this sequence and for your break down about pincha mayurasana. I’ve learned a lot! I’m going to start practicing your sequence to build strentgh and also awareness towards this asana. I’ve been practicing yoga for years, but never ben able to find my way into forearm stand. I always struggle with arm balances, forearm stand and handstand..I am investigating in my self practice and I want to work in your sequence and advices. Which asanas would you recommend to finish the practice?
    Thank you Jason!

    1. I’m glad this has been helpful for you, Sarah! You can go a few different routes after Pincha Mayurasana. You could follow it with backbends if you have the energy since this posture does a good job of preparing the shoulders for these poses. You could also follow it with forward bends and/or twists if you want to do something more quieting.

  3. Hey Jason,
    I was wondering if you had a moment if you could try and explain how tension in the lats is a major obstacle to Pincha?
    Thank you

    1. Thanks for writing, Ben. Tension and shortness in the lats inhibit the Gleno-Humeral joint from moving into full flexion. Without full flexion of the GH, it’s nearly impossible to do Pincha. Of course, strength in the lats is incredibly important for the body, and, arguably, we don’t do a good enough job in yoga at building tone in these muscles. Weak lats could also be problematic for Pincha since weak lats could produce insufficient stability in the GH.

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