Have you seen someone gracefully balance themselves on the palms of their hand with their body parallel to the ground?
That is the Peacock Pose (Mayurasana).
When you perform Mayurasana, you literally resemble a peacock. “To balance its long neck and extravagant tail feathers, which are carried straight out behind it both in flight and on the ground (unless it’s fanning them for a mating ritual), the peacock’s stout legs are situated at the center of its torso, exactly where we place our arms and hands at the navel center to become the “feet” of Mayurasana,” Award-winning author and yoga instructor Sandra Anderson illustrates.
Along with providing several benefits like strengthening the digestive system and toning your torso, Mayurasana is also one of the most elegant yoga poses in Hatha Yoga. But it certainly isn’t easy, especially for beginners in the practice. With the right technique and adequate practice, you can easily master it.
Here are a few tips and preparatory poses to help you get there faster.
Since you are practicing yoga for the first time, it is expected that you’ll have tense muscles. Your teacher may ask you to do some tension relieving stretches before the inversions begin.
- Always perform the asana in the morning. Evening is the second best time for this practice.
- Practice on an empty stomach for better balance and enhanced benefits.
- Don’t start your practice with Mayurasana. Instead, include it in the middle or the end of your practice after performing Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) and seating postures.
Try these poses before building up to Peacock Pose.
Four Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanaga Dandasana) will help you strengthen your arms and wrists for Peacock Pose. It will also help you develop core strength for better balance.
Hero Pose (Vajrasana) and slowly walk your hands forward until your spine is fully straightened with your hands under your shoulders. Then tuck your toes into the mat and straighten your legs. Once you are in Plank Pose (Phalakasana) exhale and bend your elbows into a push up position. Now, come back to Plank Pose and move backwards into Hero Pose.
Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) helps you open up your arms by loosening stiff shoulders. This will give you more strength and flexibility to perform Peacock Pose.
Start by sitting with your back straight and legs extended in front of you. From here, bend your right leg and position it under the left buttock while crossing the left knee above the right. Then, raise both your arms above the shoulder and interlock them behind your back. Stay in this position and take long, deep breathes. Slowly release the position and repeat on the other side.
Child's Pose or Balasana is a relaxing pose that will help you open up and strengthen your back muscles for Mayurasana.
Start in Hero Pose and spread your knees up to your hip’s width. Now bend forward and lay your hands beside the body on the floor in line with your torso or place them on your feet under the buttocks. Feel your tailbone lengthen and shoulder blades widen.
Take deep breathes and remain in this position as long as you feel comfortable.
Locust Pose or Salabhasana will strengthen your back and hamstring muscles giving you a better control of your body during the Mayurasana.
Start by lying on your stomach with your hands stretched out on the floor parallel to your body. Keep your palms and feet facing upwards and slowly lift your head, chest and arms off the floor with a deep inhale. Hold that position for as long as you can and then let your body relax in the first position.
Wheel Pose is one of the most important preparatory poses for the Mayurasana as it helps you practice the awkward position of the wrists while balancing your body weight on your palms – a crucial step of Peacock Pose.
Begin by lying on your back with knees bent and feet placed close to the buttocks. Bend your elbows and place the palms underneath your shoulders with the fingers pointing towards your feet. Press down your palms onto the mat and lift your body (hips and shoulders) off the ground. Slowly straighten your arms with a deep inhale as you lift your head off the mat. Try to push your chest upwards and outwards for a maximum stretch. Hold for as long as possible and then slowly relax your body back on the ground.
Regularly practice these poses to build strength, flexibility and confidence to master Peacock Pose. But most importantly, don’t forget to have fun. The more you relax into these postures, the easier they will feel and you will be elegantly showing off your beautiful peacock colors in no time.