Postural Inspiration – The Formidable Pose

Of all the arm-balances that we practice in PranaVayu classes, the formidable pose is one of my favorites.  If you haven’t tried it before you might be tempted to think that you could never do it, but if you’re willing to give it a go I think that you’ll find that it looks a lot more challenging than it really is.  Mechanically speaking, it’s not too much different than the tripod headstand that is taught in many vinyasa classes.  However, since the placement of the chin makes the neck susceptible to strain if you kick upward and over too hard, it’s good to work slowly and cautiously into this one.  Once you get it down, you’ll find that it will help you build a great deal of upper body strength and a wonderful sense of balance.

Once you’ve figured out how to balance in the tripod headstand, you can begin working into this pose.  To enter it, simply place your chin on the floor  where the top of your head would normally be.  Next,  lift one leg into the air and press strongly downward through your hands.  Practice taking the leg that it planted on the floor upward without momentum until both feet are fully vertical.  Once your balance is steady there, practice pressing downward through your hands until your chin lifts off of the floor.

NB:  This one is best done with a partner or against the wall to start!  If you’ve never done it before and would like to try, stop in for a PVYU class in Boston or Dedham and we’ll help you out.

David Magone demonstrating the formidable pose


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