Pincha Mayurasana (Feathered Peacock or Forearm Balance Pose)

Pincha Mayurasana, Feathered Peacock Pose, Forearm Balance Pose, Elbow Balance Pose, Forearm Stand Pose - SharpMuscle
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Updated: May 14, 2023

The Pincha Mayurasana, also known as Feathered Peacock Pose or Forearm Balance Pose, strengthens the shoulders, arms, core muscles, abdominal, and back muscles.

Information

Known as:Pincha Mayurasana, Feathered Peacock Pose, Forearm Balance Pose, Elbow Balance Pose, Forearm Stand Pose
Sanskrit name:पिंच मयूरासन (Pincha Mayurasana)
IAST:piñcha mayūrāsana
Pronunciation:Pee-cha My-your-AH-sa-na
Type:Inversions
Level:Intermediate
Focus:Entire body
Total time:10-30 seconds
Drishti:Towards the floor;
The wall behind you
Chakra:Manipura (solar plexus), Anahata (heart) chakras
Indications:Nervous ssystem, balance, stability, flexibility, shoulders, arms, core muscles, abdominal, back muscles, posture, circulation, oxygenation, stress, anxiety, mental fatigue
Counterposes:Child’s Pose (Balasana), Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana), Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Preparatory poses:Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana), Forearm Plank Pose (Phalakasana), L-Shaped Handstand at the Wall, Shoulder and chest opening stretches such as Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), Eagle Arms (Garudasana), and Chest Expansion (Bhujangasana variation)
Follow-up poses:Headstand (Sirsasana), Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana), Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), Seated Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana), Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
Contraindications:High blood pressure, Headache, Heart conditions, Back, shoulder, or neck injuries, Menstruation, Pregnancy

Meaning

Pincha Mayurasana is a Sanskrit term that can be broken down into three words — Pincha + Mayura + Asana:

  1. Pincha” = “feather” or “plume,” referring to the lightness and grace of the pose.
  2. Mayura” = “peacock,” which is a bird that represents beauty, vitality, and regal posture in many cultures.
  3. Asana” = “pose” or “posture”

Therefore, Pincha Mayurasana can be translated as “Feathered Peacock Pose.” This pose is so named because it involves balancing on the forearms with the legs lifted, resembling the tail feathers of a peacock.

The pose requires strength, balance, and focus, and is often considered an intermediate to advanced yoga pose.

Mythology of Pincha Mayurasana

Pincha Mayurasana, or Feathered Peacock Pose, is a challenging inversion pose that requires strength and balance. But did you know that this pose has its roots in Hindu mythology?

The story goes that Lord Shiva, one of the three main gods in Hinduism, was once performing a dance called Tandava. During this dance, his wife Parvati playfully placed her hand over his eyes, causing him to stumble and lose his balance.

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To make up for her mistake, Parvati promised Shiva that she would create a peacock feather from her own body that he could use to stabilize himself during his dances. She meditated for many years until a beautiful peacock feather grew from her head.

When Shiva saw the feather, he was so pleased that he took it and placed it on his own head. From that day forward, the peacock feather became a symbol of grace, beauty, and balance in Hindu mythology.

The Pincha Mayurasana pose is said to be a tribute to this story, as practitioners strive to emulate the grace and balance of the peacock in this challenging inversion pose. By tapping into the power of this ancient myth, yogis can find inspiration and motivation to push themselves further in their practice.

Benefits of Feathered Peacock Pose

The circulatory, lymphatic, neurological, and endocrine systems are supposed to benefit from inversions such as the Forearm Stand Pose. Musculoskeletal advantages of the forearm stand include stronger spinal muscles and improved spine alignment. 1

However, the Pincha Mayurasana (Elbow Balance Pose) offers various physical, mental, and emotional benefits, which are listed below:

Physical Benefits:

  • Strengthens the shoulders, arms, core muscles, abdominal, and back muscles
  • Enhances balance and stability
  • Improve flexibility in the shoulders, hamstrings, and hip flexors
  • Improves posture
  • Improves circulation and oxygenation
  • Cultivates a sense of body awareness and control

Mental and Emotional Benefits:

  • Improve mental clarity
  • Boost self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and mental fatigue
  • Foster courage, resilience, and a positive mindset

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance Pose) Practice Guide

Is Pincha Mayurasana is similar to Headstand? The similarities between Forearm Balance and Handstand are quite noticeable, as both postures are the same from the feet to the elbows.

The main difference is that in Forearm Balance, you bend your elbows and place them on the floor, while in Handstand, you keep them straight. However, the effect of this difference on the body is not immediately obvious. Bending the elbows creates a chain reaction that affects the shoulders, core, spine, pelvis, and legs. It is important to understand this chain reaction to effectively work with it.

One important thing to note about Forearm Balance Pose (Pincha Mayurasana) is that when you bend your elbows and place them on the floor, it can be challenging to flex your shoulder joints. As a result, many practitioners’ shoulders feel tighter and more confined in comparison to Handstand. While Forearm Balance has its advantages, getting the upper arms, shoulders, and ribs vertically stacked can be difficult for some students. When the shoulders are difficult to flex, the core and spine compensate by going too far into extension, resulting in a banana shape.

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Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Your wrists should be directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
  2. Bring your forearms to the ground, maintaining your elbows shoulder-width apart. Your palms should lie flat on the mat, and your fingers should be spread wide.
  3. Walk your feet forward until your hips are directly over your shoulders. Keep your head down and your gaze toward your mat.
  4. Press down through your forearms and lift your shoulders away from your ears. Engage your core muscles to lift your legs off the ground.
  5. Slowly begin to walk your feet in closer toward your head. Keep your core engaged and your gaze toward your mat.
  6. Take a few deep breaths in this posture after your legs are completely stretched. Keep pressing down through your forearms and engaging your core muscles.
  7. To come out of the pose, slowly lower your legs back down to the ground. Take a few deep breaths in tabletop position before moving on to your next pose.

Tips

  1. As Pincha Mayurasana requires strong and stable shoulders and forearms, it is usually challenging for beginners. Therefore, it is recommended that they practice Plank pose rigorously to build the necessary strength before attempting this asana.
  2. Straightening the legs in the air may be difficult for beginners. To overcome this challenge, they can try kicking up one leg while engaging the other until they can achieve the posture.
  3. Leaping into the posture requires patience and is typically only achieved by skilled practitioners. Beginners who are able to perform the posture should approach it slowly and return to their starting position in the same way.

Common mistakes

Practice with proper alignment and engagement of the muscles, you can deepen your understanding and experience of Pincha Mayurasana, while minimizing the risk of injury. However, the common mistakes that you can make in Elbow Balance Pose are explained below with how they can affect the posture:

  1. Elbow collapsing: When the elbows collapse, the weight of the body falls unevenly on the forearms, generating instability and making leg lifting more difficult. To avoid this, maintain your elbows shoulder-width apart and engage the muscles in your forearms and upper arms to support your torso.
  2. Splaying the legs: Splaying the legs or letting them fall apart makes it difficult to maintain balance and control in the pose. It is important to keep the legs engaged and together, creating a strong line of energy from the toes to the tailbone.
  3. Arching the back: Arching the back can put unnecessary strain on the spine and cause discomfort. To avoid this, engage the core muscles and maintain a long, neutral spine throughout the pose.
  4. Holding the breath: Holding the breath or shallow breathing can increase tension and decrease stability in the pose. It is necessary to breathe deeply and evenly, with a consistent pattern of inhales and exhales.
  5. Relying on momentum: Using momentum to kick up into the pose can result in a lack of control and stability. Instead, focus on building strength and control through proper alignment and gradual progression.
  6. Rushing into the pose: Rushing into Pincha Mayurasana without proper preparation or warm-up can increase the risk of injury. It is important to approach the pose mindfully, warming up the wrists, shoulders, and core muscles beforehand.
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Modifications and variations

Another variation of this pose can be done using a wall to achieve an L-shape:

  1. Position the short edge of your mat against a wall.
  2. Sit in Dandasana with your feet flat against the wall and place an object next to your hips to mark where your elbows will be placed when you come into the pose.
  3. Come onto all fours with your toes touching the wall and facing away from it.
  4. Lower your elbows onto the mat, making sure they are level with the marker.
  5. Move into Dolphin Pose, with your heels resting on the wall.
  6. Begin to walk your feet up the wall until they are at hip-height and flat against the wall.
  7. Straighten your knees to create a 90-degree angle, with your legs parallel to the floor.
  8. Experiment with lifting one leg and then the other.
  9. To release the pose, slowly walk your feet down the wall, return to Dolphin Pose, bend your knees, and rest in a wide-legged Child’s Pose for a few breaths.

Precautions and contraindications

Precautions and contraindications are important in Feathered Peacock Pose as they help to ensure the safety of practitioners and prevent any potential harm or injury. Following precautions and contraindications of this yoga pose are explain below:

  1. High blood pressure: Inverted poses such as Pincha Mayurasana can increase blood pressure in the head and neck region, which can be harmful for individuals with high blood pressure. To establish whether this posture is safe to practice, speak with a doctor and a yoga teacher.
  2. Headache: Pincha Mayurasana can increase pressure in the head and neck region, which can aggravate headaches. If you have a headache, avoid this and other inversions until the headache goes away.
  3. Heart conditions: Inversions such as Pincha Mayurasana can place a strain on the heart and cardiovascular system. Before practicing this posture, anyone with cardiac issues should contact with a doctor and a yoga instructor.
  4. Back, shoulder, or neck injuries: Pincha Mayurasana requires a strong and stable shoulder and back, and any pre-existing injury in these areas can be aggravated by this pose. If you have any back, shoulder, or neck issues, you should avoid this position or modify it under the supervision of a yoga instructor.
  5. During menstruation: Inverted positions can interrupt the normal flow of blood during menstruation, hence they are typically avoided at this time. However, every person’s experience is unique and some women may feel comfortable practicing this pose during menstruation. It is critical to listen to your body and practice under the supervision of a yoga teacher/instructor.
  6. During pregnancy: Inverted poses are generally not recommended during pregnancy, particularly in the later stages, as they can increase the risk of complications. Pregnant women should consult with a doctor and a yoga teacher for safe modifications and alternatives.
Sources
  1. Waldia, Vineeta, et al. A review study on effects of yoga inversions with special reference to sirshasana. International Journal of Creative Research Thoughts. April 2018. Available from: https://www.ijcrt.org/papers/IJCRT1807265.

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