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A Shoulder Opening Sequence to Forearm Balance

30 Minute Forearm Balance Sequence

This sequence leading to Forearm Balance 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 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:

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 Balance (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.

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