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Level 2
10 min

Pincha Mayurasana Tutorial

Ashtanga | By Jodi Blumstein on Apr 04 2012
Pincha Mayurasana or forearm stand is an important second series posture and one of the most therapeutic postures in yoga for shoulders.  In this tutorial we will look at ways to work the shoulders in preparation for Pincha Mayurasana and then build the posture step by step.


Pincha Mayurasana or forearm stand is an important second series posture and one of the most therapeutic postures in yoga for shoulders. In this tutorial we will look at ways to work the shoulders in preparation for Pincha Mayurasana and then build the posture step by step.


  • nicey berkenfeld     Feb 26th, 2014
    very helpful...teaching this pose this week. quick question...where is your drishti?
  • Ulrika Sundin     Feb 8th, 2014
    I have a question about the progression towards more advanced poses in ashtanga yoga. (I've never practiced ashtanga specifically but typically do hatha or vinyasa flow.) You mentioned that someone learning poses like forearm stand will traditionally be able to do big back bends as that comes before poses like forearm stand in the series. So... I'm dealing with two things that limit my ability to do back bends. I have a moderate case of diastasis recti after my pregnancies (currently trying to prevent it getting worse during my 3rd pregnancy). I might be able to strengthen the inner muscles enough to control the diastasis or possibly bring it together somewhat but I doubt I will be able to close it completely since I've had it since my first pregnancy in 2010. Obviously though this is a condition that prevents me from doing deep back bends as that could worsen the condition. I also have a colostomy, which is another reason why I don't want to stretch my abs too much since I want to prevent the opening in the abdominal wall around the colostomy to get looser which might possibly increase the risk of hernia etc. So... What would your advice be for someone who stays away from deep back bends when it comes to poses that come after the back bends in the traditional ashtanga series? For poses like headstand and forearm stand I have been practicing a little bit before this pregnancy (obviously right now I'm only doing laid back prenatal yoga) and since I don't want to risk falling over into a back bend that would be potentially bad for my body I have been mostly practicing at a wall, though I've tried not to rely on the wall for help in the pose as in leaning the feet against the wall, but keep a good alignment just using the wall as a safety net in case I'd wobble a bit. Do you think that is a good approach? Or is there any other reason to stay away from these poses if one can't do deep back bends? What other poses would you say are inappropriate for someone who can't do deep back bends? Thanks. :)
    • Jodi Blumstein     Feb 12th, 2014
      Ulrika - there are a lot of questions here.

      i would say that if you aren't really doing ashtanga yoga, then what i am talking is not relevant to you. My particular perspective and my inspiration for the discussion comes from a long relationship with the ashtanga tradition and taking people step by step through that process.

      My experience was that from the beginning of my daily ashtanga practice it was almost 7 years before i was working on pinch mayurasana. that is how long i spent exploring the primary series and the first 2/3 of the intermediate series.

      It might be worthwhile for you to explore the beginning of the primary series to establish a foundation and stability when you are coming back from this next birth. Primary is very very grounding and stabilizing.


      Jodi B
  • Sophia Ott     Nov 18th, 2013
    Wow, super helpful! By working in balance via the split I finally was able to understand how to come up! Thank you!
  • Kayla Sharrah     Jul 23rd, 2013
    Hi Jodi,
    Loved your tutorial. I have been approaching pincha mayurasana at the wall and the banana back has been an issue for me. Last night I did the forearms against the wall and it felt great! My arms stayed vertical and I am working my armpits towards the floor. They were about 1-2 inches away....should I keep with this until they are completely touching the floor?
    Thank you for your light and guidance on the subject,
    • Jodi Blumstein     Sep 23rd, 2013
      Hi Kayla

      I have found this approach to be therapeutic for people in many different stages and I can not say with any certainty that your armpits will ever touch the floor. However, if you do the exercise consistently you will build not only flexibility in this area of the body but also more awareness and sensation there that will help you learn to activate and ignite this place as a foundation for the inversion. Another place to pay CLOSE attention to this movement is in the first breath of your sun the arms go up, keep the ribs down. You likely lift the ribs if you have banana in your pincha- and this is a vinyasa that is repeated throughout your practice every day where you can become more aware and create a solid foundation to shift the pattern.
  • Diana Pascual     May 24th, 2013
    Thank you for this informative tutorial. I tried the forearms on the wall and it keeps making the triangle shape. I put a block between my hands to help my arms to straighten. What are the muscles you mentioned in the video that are possibly tight? I can't also straighten my arms in Urdhva Danurasana. I have thoracic scoliosis and Urdhva Danurasana is the pose that I am having much trouble with in the primary series. Thank you.
  • Christy Wandrei     Feb 18th, 2013
    Hi! Wonderful tutorial! When working with the forearms up on the wall I feel it mostly at the top of my shoulders? And find it extremely difficult to lengthen through the armpits? I don't particularly feel it in my lats....
    • Jodi Blumstein     Feb 18th, 2013
      hi christy

      you may not feel it in your lats....but keep working to lengthen through the sides of the body and back. that this is extremely difficult for you is generally a good thing, it means you have someplace to work! keep at it.


      jodi b
  • wendy messel     Dec 20th, 2012
    Great tutorial!!! :)
  • Stephanie Pritchett     Jul 19th, 2012
    That was super helpful. I've been working with the wall, and I feel I'm getting no where. This is such a better approach. Thanks!
  • Alisa Reasor     May 16th, 2012
    I am working on this pose and am one of those tight shouldered folks. This was very beneficial to my practice. Your tutorials are the best. Thank you!
  • Leta LaVigne     May 6th, 2012
    thank you! your tutorials are so helpful!
  • Lana Russo     May 2nd, 2012
    This is great. I have demo'd this with students standing in tadasana, belted above the elbows, and firming a block between their hands and bending the elbows back--but the wall with forearms pressed up against it is such a fabulous way to teach it. I love how you work in stages rather than use the wall. Awesome. Thanks! Lana, Ryt 500
  • Lisa Hagen     Apr 5th, 2012
    I have tight shoulers and raising my arms up is challenging. I'll remind myself to engage the bandhas and ribs. I'm working on pincha away from the wall. Great tutorial....thank you, Jodi!