Pincha Mayurasana Feathered Peacock Pose
(pin-cha my-your-AHS-anna) piñca = feather
mayura = peacock Pincha Mayurasana translates as peacock feather pose. The peacock is the emblem of the Indian Goddess of the Arts, Saraswati. Like the goddess, the peacock is both beautiful and fierce. Most of the time the peacock walks with his beautiful fan of feathers dragging behind him on the ground. At the time the rainy season approaches or when enticing his mate with his attractiveness he lifts his splendid crown of feathers. The yogi’s intention is to make themselves as attractive to god as possible. Just as the peacock lifts their feathers, the yogi adorns themselves with good intentions and an unconditional loving heart. This pose can be seen as a metaphor for this intention. There is a fierceness and a bravery to the peacock that is needed for the yogi to have an unconditional loving heart. This bravery is cultivated during this pose. The peacock can eat snakes and be unaffected by their poison. This symbolizes the yogi who can live in any Crowded City and with its endless objects of distractions, remain steady and unaffected. The peacock feathers are adorned with “eyes” at the top of each feather. The eyes at the top of the feather remind the yogi that true sight does not come from the eyes but from the heart. While in the Peacock pose we see the world upside down with our eyes and are reminded that true sight comes from within.
Practice of Pincha Mayurasana Feathered Peacock Pose
- Perform a modified Adho Muhka Svanasana at your yoga wall, with your palms and forearms on the floor. Your fingertips should be right at the base of the wall, and your forearms parallel to each other at shoulder width. This pose isn’t quite as scary as Adho Mukha Vrksasana; it has a firmer base of support, and the head isn’t as far away from the floor. But it can still be somewhat intimidating. To ready yourself for and secure yourself in this inversion, firm your shoulder blades against your back torso and pull them toward your tailbone. Then rotate your upper arms outward, to keep the shoulder blades broad, and hug your forearms inward. Finally spread your palms and press your inner wrists firmly against the floor.
- Now bend one knee and step the foot in, closer to the wall (let’s say the left leg), but keep the other (i.e. right) leg active by extending through the heel. Then take a few practice hops before you try to launch yourself upside down. Sweep your right leg through a wide arc toward the wall and kick your left foot off the floor, immediately pushing through the heel to straighten the leg. Hop up and down like this several times, each time pushing off the floor a little higher. Exhale deeply each time you hop.
- Hopping up and down like this may be all you can manage for now. Regularly practice your strength poses, like Adho Mukha Svanasana (or the modified version that’s the beginning position here), Plank Pose, and Chaturanga Dandasana. Eventually you’ll be able to kick all the way into the pose. At first your heels may crash into the wall, but again with more practice you’ll be able to swing your heels up lightly to the wall.
- If your armpits and groins are tight, your lower back may be deeply arched. To lengthen it, draw your front ribs into your torso, reach your tailbone toward your heels, and slide your heels higher up the wall. Draw the navel toward the spine. Squeeze the outer legs together and roll the thighs in. In Pincha Mayurasana your head should be off the floor; hang it from a spot between your shoulder blades and gaze out into the center of the room.
- Stay in the pose 10 to 15 seconds. Gradually work your way up to 1 minute. When you come down, be sure not to sink onto the shoulders. Keep your shoulder blades lifted and broad, and take one foot down at a time with an exhalation. Lift into Adho Mukha Svanasana for 30 seconds to a minute. We tend to kick up with the same leg all the time: be sure to alternate your kicking leg, one day right, next day left.
Therapeutic Applications, Anatomical Focus
Benefits of Pincha Mayurasana Feathered Peacock Pose
- Strengthens the shoulders, arms, and back
- Stretches the shoulders and neck, chest, and belly
- Improves sense of balance
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
Cautions for Pincha Mayurasana Feathered Peacock Pose
- Back, shoulder, or neck injury
- Heart condition
- High blood pressure