Tiger (also called Byagrasana, Forearm Balance or Pincha Mayurasana) is a difficult posture that involves balancing the body upside down using only the strength of the arms and shoulders. In order to do the posture safely and sustainably, we must gradually build strength and coordination in our arms, shoulders and torso.
There are two main elements necessary to do Tiger (pictured bottom right): strength and balance. Strength must be built first; it will be impossible and even dangerous to balance without strength.
We start with the Forearm Plank (pictured top left). Quite simply, this begins to teach the shoulders how to carry the body's weight. Next, walk the feet toward the head so that the hips lift up (pictured top center). Notice how this changes the position of the shoulders in relationship to the body. We are gradually moving them toward the position of Tiger.
Walk the feet as close as possible to the head (pictured top right). The hips come over the shoulders, placing the shoulders in the proper position for Tiger while still keeping the feet on the floor. Then lift one of your legs straight up (pictured bottom left). This puts more weight into the arms, building strength, and also destabilizes our balance, forcing more balance into the arms.
The final preparation works entirely on balance. Lift both feet off the floor and split the legs apart (pictured bottom center). It helps to do this against a wall at first. Splitting the legs lowers the center of gravity, making balance a little easier. As your balance stabilizes, you can slowly lift your legs up and together, until you are balanced in Tiger!
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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