Peacock Pose, Mayurasana, (my-YUR-AH-suh-nuh)
mayura (peacock) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Mayurasana
Pose Type: Strengthening, Balancing, Digestion, Core Activating
Tap into your relationship with the earth and ground down for stability as you lift up into this challenging arm balance
Peacock Pose Fundamentals
Find stability and unleash your inner power with this challenging arm-balancing asana. This pose will build your confidence, and encourage you to try something new.
This pose is named as it resembles the shape of a peacock, a sacred animal that symbolizes prosperity and patience. And patience is exactly what you will need to master this pose – it is not for the faint of heart.
This is one of the best poses to try if you want to work on your balancing skills. Although you alone can know whether you are ready to attempt it, always make sure you are warmed up, regardless of your strength, skills, or experience. Incorporate wrist activation and stretches to make sure you don’t injure them while attempting the pose.
Traditionally, this pose was mainly practiced because it places pressure on the abdomen, which stimulates digestion and detoxification.
Peacock Pose & Ancient Texts
It is one of the oldest recorded non-seated yoga poses, first mentioned in a 10th-century Hatha yoga text called Vimanarcanakalpa. Later, it was also mentioned in the 13th-century text Vasishtha Samhita, where it is described as an asana that eradicates all sins. The description of the pose can also be found in one of the most important texts on yoga, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, where it was described as follows:
“Hold the Earth with both hands. Place the sides of the navel on the elbows. Rise high above the ground like a stick. This is Mayurasana.” ~ Hatha Yoga Pradipika
In the book, it was described the pose stimulates Agni, the digestive fire, eradicates poisons in the body, and “ will give you invincible digestion.”
In a deeper sense, traditional yoga believes getting rid of the poisons within us, physically, also gives us more strength to combat poisons in life, referring to experiences that frighten, anger or disgust us. By healing our bodies of toxins, we also get a better ability in tackling the challenges of everyday life.
Peacock Pose & The Chakra System
The pose activates the Muladhara and Sacral Chakra, and is sometimes recommended as a part of the physical practice aimed at awakening the Kundalini energy within us.
When practiced with this intention, it may help transmute sexual or creative energy, into spiritual energy, and help us obtain a deeper and more profound vision of the world.
Peacock Pose Benefits
- Strengthens the core, forearms, and chest.
- Encourages greater body awareness, by teaching you the power of maintaining stability and tranquility, even in challenging poses.
- Helps release the spine, and may improve the functioning of your nervous system.
- Improves concentration and focus.
- The pressure on the abdomen stimulates internal organs and may improve digestion, and metabolism, and boost the natural detoxification process in the body.
- May help release stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression.
How To Do Peacock Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
1. Begin in Hero Pose. Hold the starting position for a couple of breaths to open the hips.
2. Place your arms on the floor in front of you, and turn your hands, so the fingers are facing your body, and your wrists are facing the front of your mat.
3. Bring your torso and head forward and place your forehead on the ground. Move the elbows close together.
4. Rest your chest on the elbows, with the elbows pointing inward, rather than splaying out to the sides.
5. Extend your legs behind you, balancing your weight on the balls of the feet, just as you would in Chaturanga.
6. Adjust your upper body on the forearms, and slowly bring your weight forward using your toes. Engage your abdomen.
7. Keeping your thighs and feet together, slowly raise your legs off the ground. You can also raise your legs one at a time to practice slow and controlled movement.
8. Deepen your breath and try balancing both or only one leg off the ground. Keep your gaze slightly in front of you to maintain a neutral alignment in the neck.
9. Hold the pose as long as you can, up to 30 seconds. When you are ready, release the legs down to the floor one at a time.
10. Come back to Hero Pose to release tension from your wrists. You can also catch your breath in Child’s Pose.
Tips And Tricks:
- In the full expression of the pose, elbows are kept close together. If that’s difficult, you can loop a yoga strap above your elbows and bind them.
- If you have broad shoulders, larger chest, or are stiff in the upper body, it may be difficult to make your elbows touch. In this case, you can keep them slightly apart. Make sure they are still in contact with your upper torso.
- Don’t attempt the pose before you are able to hold Chaturanga with proper alignment for some time.
- Never practice the pose at the beginning of your class, make sure you do a proper warm-up before you attempt it. Place a special emphasis on your wrists, shoulders, and core during your warm-up.
- Don’t rock back and forth when holding the pose. If you can’t be still, keep your arms closer together, or do other arm balancing poses, like Crow, to practice your balancing skills.
- When you’re ready to release the pose, do it slowly, one foot at a time – don’t simply collapse to the ground.
Peacock Pose Variation:
Peacock Pose Variation: Peacock Pose With a Yoga Block
This variation is a perfect preparatory pose before you’re able to balance your entire weight on the upper body.
Place a yoga block under your pelvis. This will help you find balance, stability, and correct alignment when you lift your legs off the ground. You can also rest a block under your forehead while you’re trying to find balance in the pose.
Peacock Pose Variation: Legs in Lotus
If you are able to hold Mayurasana, you can also try a different leg shape. Place your legs in Lotus first, then raise to your knees and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Bend your elbows and try to lift just as you would in the classic version of the pose.
This variation may also be more accessible to women since they usually have a lower center of gravity, which may make it difficult to balance with legs extended. Regardless of gender, if you struggle to balance, this variation will move your weight forward and may make it easier to stabilize your body. If Lotus is unavailable, you can also place your legs in the Bound Angle position.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Lifting the legs too quickly. Avoid lifting your legs up too rapidly or too dramatically. This may only lead you to lose balance or injure your wrists. Instead, lift the legs slowly,or one at a time.
Leaning forward too much. In this pose, you will balance your weight in the upper body, but avoid leaning forward too much, or lowering the head too low to the ground. This may lead to injury to the wrists and the pelvis. Rather, find a balance between the forward and backward action, and strive to keep your torso as upright as possible.
Injury and Surgeries
If you have an injury in the rib cage, wrists, elbows, shoulders hips, or lower back, avoid this pose. Also, refrain from practicing if you struggle with chronic back pain, have recently had surgery, have arthritis, blood pressure, or have any issues in the abdominal organs or the heart. Also refrain during pregnancy, as a lot of pressure is placed on the abdomen in the pose.
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