Mayurasana – Peacock Pose
Now for something different.
I have decided, due to the requests, that i post some poses and some video posts on stuff around yoga and ayurveda. So here is the first.
This is Mayurasana. It is called peacock pose. Peacocks are known for eating snakes, they digest the poison that the snake has. This is the deeper meaning behind this pose. It is by far the best pose for rejuvenation of the digestive system. This is real detox and healing when followed precisely.
It is an advanced pose. it is the best pose for dealing with digestive disorders. It is also pretty easy to do. Struggling and efforting makes it impossible to do as well as defeats the purpose of it in the first place.
There are lots of benefits to this pose. It is contraindicated for people with Hernias, High blood pressure and Ulcers. But all asanas have indications and contraindications, none of that is followed in western “yoga” in which we just do asana without any understanding of its deep processes or how it works in the context of prana and yoga (see past posts on asana and what it is about). We seem to think that none of this stuff really matters and because we have not studied the depth of the foundation in the context of what it is, we look at it as exercise only and that everything is okay. It is not.
The benefits include: the stimulation of metabolic processes in the body first and foremost, in ayurvedic and yogic terms it kindles the agni or the gastric fire but there is much more to it than that, It Increases the secretion from different organs of the body. It cleanses the bowels and intestines, toxins are eliminated from the blood which in turn treats skin conditions. It is great for diabetes and constipation as well as stomach ailments and abdominal problems. All of this requires someone to be following a strict dietary regime otherwise imbalances occur. This is to stop the intake of dairy products, fats, meat and any other food that is difficult to digest or that is sweet or earth element. Also excessive use of spices should be eliminated. It is best to make takra (see past post on buttermilk/takra) fruits, vegetables, rice and all simple foods but still watching food combining. (fruit is eaten alone)
After 2 weeks of the dietary regime one can start to practice mayurasana and can do so as many times a day as they would like. This followed for one month will cleanse the body internally and externally.
The prep for this pose are hamsasana. It is performed by stepping the legs back and remaining in that pose only. You will see me get into this pose before the floating up of the legs.
This pose is done with a full exhale. Most people will inhale a little to effort themselves up. This will cause severe damage to the body including possible herniations, prolapse, damage to internal organs, etc… So please do not do that. This pose is usually done after an asana practice at the end, definitely not before inverted poses.
Your focus remains on the nabhi or navel during the poses initiation to the end. The navel is the site for agni in yoga.
Once again there is no strain to do this pose.
What inhibits most people from doing this pose is their wrists and their shoulder girdle. It is the tightness of the throat and neck and how it wraps down into the forearm into the wrist. In the beginning of the video i am explaining the wrist spirals briefly. Our wrists are not linear joints. They do not bend back like western biomechanics think into flexion and extension. More over one will damage their wrists in time doing this pose that way. The wrist unspirals into the floor. The carpal bones like all bones in our body are circular or in my words spirikal. The weight in the pose needs to be on the pinky side of the palm in order to not damage the wrist. The fingers are reaching out flat, lengthening across the floor so that there is space for the palm to open. Any contraction of the palm into concavity like will contract muscles in the forearms that are trying to lengthen and will create injury. This injury can result in the shoulder funny enough, it is all connected.
The tightness in the wrists are seen in the tightness of the neck and throat. The collarbone area is unable to open due to this. It is also just a complete coincidence that the lung and heart meridians of Chinese Medicine run from the thumb and pinky up the arm. Yeah, a coincidence. Opening the wrists properly with a little practice allows one to perform this asana effortlessly.
When you are open in the wrists the elbows can bend into the navel. Impeding this is the tightness of the shoulders. It should not be forced, once again it will result in injury. When you are able to place the elbows into the navel (not the chest at all), you may rest upon them. relax the body onto the elbows. you will feel the tightness of the lower back as well as the compression of the organs and possibly might even feel your kidneys under your elbows. It is wise to remain here resting as the prep until practice develops.
When one is able to, they may step one leg back to a straight leg. Then followed by the other, this becomes Hamsasana, Swan pose.
The relaxation is necessary at this point. If one tightens their abdominals it creates an internal pressure that can cause horrible internal injuries. Please do not do this. When one is ready to take the final step, you exhale completely and hold the exhale until the pose is over, lift the head to look forward and just lean your weight forward towards you head. This will create a counter balance and your legs will magically lift into the air. this is the first step of Mayurasana. Further steps are not in the video but can be brought into a full inversion with the chin to the ground and the legs straight in the air.
As with all asana, it is not about a work out. Yoga doesn’t work on that premise. Maximal exertion is based upon ones capacity in yoga. it is very different than western exercise, pretty much opposite. That is western exercise for you though. With struggle and efforting to bring oneself up into this pose ALL benefits are lost and only danger is stepped into. You can see this by simply googling mayurasana and looking at the images. Here are few.
Although someone might think this looks amazing, this is just the opposite than what wants to be done. There is a strain due to the fact he is holding his breath in. You can see this in his belly as well. No actual benefit is had from what he is doing. He is creating internal pressure and not actually sinking into the organs. As said earlier, prolapse, herniation, etc is eventually going to happen and due to the lack of understanding there will be no correlation to the damage with the pose from a western mindset.
This one was labeled Hamsasana, which it is not at all, for a photoshoot for Manduka YogaMats. If you can see her shoulders and how pushed forward they are, this is due to her hands facing the wrong way and that she is doing way more than what she has capacity to do. She is muscling her way thru it and her body does not have the strength or the stability of the form to do the pose properly. This is what happens when we push beyond our bodies capacity. The smaller muscles that need to be doing the work are not and the larger muscles are being relied upon. She then is hinging her neck around the mid cervicals cutting off the ability to stabilize properly. All of this is destabilizing to her system. Goodbye shoulders. Hello neck pain. Does anyone here know what it feels like to tear a rotator cuff or a neck muscle? This is why it happens.
This would be an advanced stage of Mayurasana except that he does not have the strength or flexibility to do it. Elbows are not in the navel but instead resting his hips on them. The lateral rotation of his hips and how his feet are show just how much he is pulling from his lower back and how excessively tight his external rotators in the hips are. Working way beyond his capacity and using other muscles to force himself into the pose. Funny enough, the rotation into supination of his feet turn on his iiliopsoas inhibiting him from getting into his viscera at all. This is part of the reason why he is balancing his elbows on his hips. No benefits of the pose will be had.
Most people are not doing it correctly and not having any of the benefits touted for this pose. Some even have their hands wrong, their elbows out to the sides of their bodies….. this is the massive ignorance that there is in the yoga world. We for some reason just think that doing as a picture has will have the intended effect. It doesn’t. The results are due to the details. The problem with all of that is that people are getting hurt out of the ignorance. If one gets out of the competition and drive to succeed which is in the opposite path of yoga, there would not be injuries. take your time with this pose, relax. It is actually quite easy.
Please enjoy the video, sorry about the audio.