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Benefits of Mayurasana (Peacock Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

By Dr. Ankit Sankhe +2 more

Introduction: 

Yoga is not a concept but a way of life for many individuals. You may or may not be doing Yoga yourself, but you might still be aware of what all goes into doing a yoga pose. Yoga is more like a spiritual discipline that focuses on establishing harmony between the mind and body. The practice of Yoga aims to overcome all kinds of suffering, leading to a sense of freedom in all walks of life.1 Yoga is more than just exercise. It is a combination of four heads including breathing practices, postures, deep relaxation and meditation to transform health on different levels.2 This is what attracts men and women of all ages to practice Yoga. Many asanas may cater to the health issues you want to target. In this article, we’ll be elaborating about one such asana called mayurasana.  

What is Mayurasana?  

The term Mayur means peacock in Sanskrit. So Mayurasana resembles the posture of a peacock that has spread his feathers. Mayurasana is close to plank exercise.3 The hatha yoga text describes the Mayurasana as a good pose for developing abdominal and pelvic energy. It demands good physical strength. Gymnasts can do it quite easily. Doing a peacock pose successfully will depend upon your body type and weight distribution. If either of the portions of your body is heavy, or if your arms are weak, you will find it difficult to do this posture. Maintaining Mayurasana well for three minutes will surely improve the powers of digestion and food assimilation.4  

Based on my experience, practicing Mayurasana has been known to have potential benefits in detoxifying the body. This yoga pose involves balancing on the hands while engaging the abdominal muscles, which can stimulate the digestive organs and enhance their detoxification processes. By promoting better circulation and activating the body’s natural detox mechanisms, Mayurasana may help remove toxins and improve overall well-being.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

How to do it? 

Following all the techniques correctly is essential to get the best results and avoid injury. If you are doing the pose for the first time, take support from a cot and take all the necessary precautions. To do Mayurasana, you need to follow the steps given below: 

  • Kneel down on the ground. Do a squat position on your toes. Raise the heels up. You must join the two forearms together and place both palms on the floor.  
  • Make sure the two little fingers are in close opposition and the thumbs touch the ground. The thumbs should project towards the feet.  
  • Now, bring down the abdomen against the conjoined elbows. You need to support the body upon the elbows pressed against the naval. You have reached the first stage of the pose.  
  • Now, stretch your legs and raise the feet straight on a level with the head. Your legs are now aligned parallel to the ground. You have successfully reached the second stage of the pose.  
  • Beginners may find it challenging to balance once they start raising their feet off the ground. For safety reasons, you can put a pillow in from of you. In this way, you can protect your nose if you fall forward.  
  • If you find it challenging to stretch both legs simultaneously, try moving one leg at a time. Then, when Mayurasana is in full manifestation, your head, buttocks, thighs and feet will be in one straight line.  
  • You can start by practising this asana for 5 to 20 seconds. You can do this pose for 2 to 3 minutes if you have good physical strength.3  

It is important to note that attempting Mayurasana should be done with caution and after a minimum of 4 hours since your last meal. Engaging in this yoga pose too soon after eating may lead to discomfort or digestive issues. It is advisable to prioritize your well-being by giving your body adequate time to digest the food before attempting Mayurasana.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Do You Know? 

Here are some interesting facts about Mayurasana. 

  • As per the Hath Yoga Pradipika (HYP), Mayurasana can give us invincible digestion! This enunciates that by doing Mayurasana, you’ll be so fortified that even the poisonous life experiences won’t harm us.  
  • Mayurasana can even fortify your psychic digestion so that you can integrate any of the life events without any difficulty. 
  • There is also an interesting story about Mayurasana. It involves the great teacher Krishnamacharya (the guru of Iyenger). It goes like this. From 1918 to 1925, Krishnamacharya studied with an old teacher (230 years old) named Brahmachari. Brahmachari was hard on Krishnamacharya, who was in his 30s then. Legends say that Brahmachari used to force Krishnamacharya to eat heaps of ghee, put weights on his legs, and make him do the Mayurasana pose outside their Himalayan cave regularly. His training was extremely rigorous.  According to a Hindi proverb, one must drink poison before getting the Amrit (drink of immortality). The story tells us, that Krishnamacharya had to face many hardships before his great success in life, of becoming the founding father of modern Yoga!  

In my experience, Mayurasana is believed to have potential benefits for the liver and spleen health. It is suggested that regular practice of this asana may help in managing diseases related to these organs and even aid in the healing process.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

Benefits of Exercise: 

Mayurasana is known to strengthen the muscles. You get maximum physical exercise with minimum time when you perform Mayurasana. Some of the potential benefits of Mayurasana are given below.  

1. Benefits of Mayurasana for purification:  

Doing Mayurasana daily might help detoxify the body and get rid of diseases. This may help you live a healthy life. It may also help nullify the ill-effects caused due to the consumption of unwholesome foods.3 However, these effects need to be further explored by scientific research.  

2. Benefits of Mayurasana for digestion:  

Mayurasana helps improve digestion and increases digestive power. It can also help avoid indigestion and other diseases of the stomach. Mayurasana might help facilitate good bowel movement and avoid constipation (ordinary/ chronic/ habitual). Mayurasana might also improve the appetite, get rid of gas and help avoid bile and phlegm imbalance. These effects might be due to the increased pressure on the abdomen caused while performing mayurasana.3  

3. Benefits of Mayurasana for the internal organs:  

The mayurasana pose causes an increased pressure on the abdomen. Our internal organs like the kidneys, liver, diaphragm (a muscular partition separating the lungs from the abdomen), and the lungs might get toned due to this increased pressure (within physiological limits) on the abdomen. Therefore, mayurasana might be a good exercise for our organs.3,5   

4. Benefits of Mayurasana for micronutrient absorption in children:  

Malnutrition is a rampant problem in the children of rural and urban communities. Malnutrition includes undernourishment and obesity as well. A deficiency of micronutrients (essential nutrients required in small quantities for proper functioning of body) is the most common cause of malnutrition. A lack of micronutrients such as iodine, vitamin A and iron can pose severe health risks for children. Mayurasana might help enhance the absorption of micronutrients in blood.6 

5. Other benefits of Mayurasana: 

Mayurasana might have benefits in the following conditions as well: 

  • In mayurasana, the body is balanced on the elbow and the hand. This might cause the stimulation of the vagus nerve which may have a calming effect on the brain. 
  • Mayurasana, by stimulating the vagus nerve might also lead to the stimulation of gall bladder. Thus, it might cause proper secretion of bile. 
  • It might also lead to the stimulation of the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Therefore, it might be helpful against diabetes. 
  • Mayurasana might also help relieve stress and anxiety by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (also called the “rest and digest” state of the body) which is responsible for relaxing the body.7 

Yoga practice may help you develop the mind and body; however, it is still not an alternative to modern medicine. Therefore, you must not rely on Yoga alone to treat any condition. Instead, please consult a qualified doctor who will be able to assess your situation properly and advise accordingly. Moreover, it is necessary to practice and learn Yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to avoid any injuries.  

Risks of Exercise 

Specific contraindications related to Mayurasana are:  

  • Avoid performing Mayurasana after any abdominal surgery.  
  • Avoid performing Mayurasana if you suffer from high blood pressure, wrists or elbows problems and glaucoma.  
  • Women should avoid Mayurasana when they are menstruating or pregnant.5  
  • As the entire body weight is mainly on the wrist and elbows in this asana, there is a risk of hurting the associated muscles when the asana is performed incorrectly.7  
  • If you have vertigo or cerebral palsy, you should avoid this asana. 
  • If you have undergone shoulder surgery or have a dislocated shoulder, you should seek medical advice before performing this exercise. 

With the right guidance of a qualified and experienced yoga expert/yoga teacher, we can analyse the risk factors and continue to practice exercise with precautions.  

Conclusion  

Mayurasana is a challenging pose that requires excellent physical strength. However, athletes and gymnasts can manage it easily. If you are doing the pose for the first time, follow safety measures and take all the support you need to nail the pose correctly. It is better to take guidance from a yoga expert when doing such poses. Pregnant and menstruating women should strictly avoid doing the Mayurasana, same goes for people who have had abdominal surgery.    

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is Mayurasana?  

Mayurasana is a hatha yoga pose. The term mayur translates to peacock, hence it is also known as the peacock pose. It is a hand-balancing asana that requires good physical strength.3 

What is the time duration of Mayurasana?  

Doing the Mayurasana pose is all about balancing your body weight on your hands. This requires good physical strength. You can start by practising this asana for 5 to 20 seconds. You can do this pose for 2 to 3 minutes if you have good physical strength.3  

What are the benefits of Mayurasana for digestion?  

Mayurasana might help improve digestion. It may also help diseases like chronic gastritis (gulma) and liver enlargement. This pose might help facilitate good bowel movement and avoid constipation (ordinary/ chronic/habitual). Mayurasana might also improve the appetite, get rid of gas and help avoid problems associated with bile and phlegm.3  

How many times should one do Mayurasana?  

You can do the Mayurasana one to two times in a day depending upon your capacity.5   

What are the benefits of Mayurasana for the abdomen?  

Doing Mayurasana might help stimulate the abdominal organs and give you maximum physical exercise in minimum time.3  

References:  

1. Introduction to Yoga — Vikaspedia [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 29]. Available from: https://vikaspedia.in/health/ayush/yoga-1/introduction-to-yoga 

2. Introduction to Yoga – Harvard Health [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 29]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/introduction-to-yoga-copy#about-report 

3. Mayurasana [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 28]. Available from: https://www.sivanandaonline.org//?cmd=displaysection&section_id=1256 

4. Shri Sridharan YS, Deepak Professor of Physiology KK, Thakur JS, Nesari Director T, Ravindra Professor of Physiology N, Basavaraddi Director I v, et al. Yoga Vijnana (The Science and Art of Yoga). Half Yearly Journal of MDNIY. 2022;1(2). available from: https://yoga.ayush.gov.in/Publications/gallery/JOURNAL/Yoga%20Vijnana%20Vol.%201.pdf 

5. Mayurasana [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 29]. Available from: https://www.yogaindailylife.org/system/en/level-6/mayurasana 

6. Verma A, Shete S, Kulkarni D, Bhogal RS. Effect of yoga practices on micronutrient absorption in urban residential school children. J Phys Ther Sci [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Sep 29];29(7):1254. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28744059/ 

7. Somlata Jadoun D, Yadav SK. Anatomical Explanation of “Mayurasana”. Available from: https://www.ijtsrd.com/papers/ijtsrd29884.pdf  

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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