We’re checking in with our March yogi of the month, Dariush Kashani, to learn a little about his experience with the pose of the month, Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand). As you’ll see, it’s not really about the pose at all…
I had not practiced forearm stand (pincha mayurasana) prior to this month…and my first impressions? Curiosity…doubt and awe. A sense of adventure. Did I mention doubt? My big question – will I be able to perform?
The day Nicole took the photo of me (with Heidi firmly standing by), it took several attempts to get there. I literally experienced my world being turned upside down, attempting to get the photo…”right.” I tackled it about a dozen times, but without the benefit of what we’ve all experienced over the month, learning how to build our way there. So I was a bit out of sorts and discouraged.
Heidi asked if I was OK, if anything hurt.
“Just my ego.”
Nicole chimed in: “Yes, Dariush, that’s the whole point.”
Deep into the second week, as we moved toward the wall, the performance issue insisted it needed my attention. “The pose must look a certain way – must look perfect.” Seeing Nicole, Heidi, Jennifer, etc. doing the pose with tremendous composure, lightness and ease (always perfectly stacked) created an image within me that something about it was perfect, or “right.” (Paging Dr. Freud…)
But seriously, upon making these discoveries, I attended to my practice and listened to each teacher. Clear, concise instruction helped me find my way there slowly. So first, building shoulder and forearm strength was key. And this was my first ah-ha moment…the internal noise, takes a back seat and attention was given to building strength to body parts that have simply been unattended. Mindfully, I attended to building the foundation first vs. feeding a hungry, fearful voice within that wants nothing but to disrupt.
As I’ve progressed, I find every attempt of forearm stand to be different. There is excitement for certain. My mind still had moments where I’m flooded with some noise. Sometimes half way through class, I experience anticipation in wanting to get “there,” which at times has gotten in the way. Also, (wait for it…) I forget to breathe… and then realize I need to breathe. And so I’ve gotten to a place where I’m not being hard on myself for any of this… just observing and moving on.
There is always a feeling of elation when I get my legs onto the wall in the pose. And how fortunate I feel that I am able to do that! Getting fully upside down doesn’t always happen and I’m taking note of that being more than OK.
I definitely have a grasp on how to practice forearm stand at home. I can’t go into it “cold.” Just as we do in class, by the time I get to practicing forearm stand, my body needs to be warmed up and my mind in an open place. Truly, it’s important. Let me tell you: A few months ago I did an “unsupervised” side crow in my living room and wasn’t warmed up properly. Heard a pop in my right wrist and was sore for some time.
In closing, there will always be a performance issue with challenging poses like forearm stand. And an implication that the asana has to look finished, polished, perfect in some way. But it’s not a performance, and nothing ever really “ends” or is finished, is it? I hope to discover what that feeling is. One thing I have learned – this is a Yoga practice. Just saying those words opens things up and frees me up to explore.
Namaste, I’ve learned so much and thanks for this opportunity.