(Ardha‌ ‌Pincha‌ ‌Mayurasana): Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Level – Intermediate

Dolphin Pose

(Ardha‌ ‌Pincha‌ ‌Mayurasana)

Dolphin Pose Prep & Practice

1

Beginning on hands and knees, knees hip-width apart and stacked under hips. Lower onto forearms, elbows stacked under shoulders.

2

Spread through the fingers, curl toes under, press down through the hands and forearms. Exhale and lift the knees away from the floor, keeping knees bent and heels lifted as you lift the hips up and back.

3

Abdominals draw up and in, knitting front ribs, lengthening through spine. Externally rotate upper arms, draw shoulders down the back, away from the ears.

4

Begin to straighten the legs, quadriceps engage, knees lift, thighs draw up and back as you continue to press down through the forearms, keeping the spine long as pubic bone and tailbone draw up and back and chest moves away from the floor. Ears in line with biceps.

5

Breathe into the back body, relax the jaw. Legs, core, arms and hands energized and engaged.

6

To come out of the pose, on an exhalation, lower the knees.

Variations/Modifications

  • Keeping elbows stacked under shoulders, clasp hands or use block between the hands.
  • Keep knees bent
  • Rest head on block
  • Use a block between the thighs

Physical, Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Stretches hamstrings, calves and feet
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders
  • Stimulates the brain and improves digestion
  • Relieves headaches and insomnia
  • Strengthens and prepares the body for inversions
  • Focuses concentration

Contraindications

  • Shoulder or neck injuries
  • Glaucoma
  • Head Injuries
  • High Blood Pressure

Thoughtful Sequencing

Cow (Bitilasana) and Cat (Marjaryasana) 5X to Child’s Pose (Balasana). Plank Pose, lower knees and come onto forearms. Lift knees to come into Dolphin (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana). Inhale forward to forearm plank, exhale to Dolphin (Ardha Pincha Mayursana) 3-5X, hold Dolphin (Ardha Pincha Mayrasana) 5-10 breaths. Lower knees onto mat, rest in Child’s Pose (Balasana).

A Few Notes

Dolphin pose is not for the faint of heart, so those looking for yoga for beginners may find this posture a bit challenging. It is an incredible strength-building posture for the shoulders, upper back, and arms. If your goal is to get into forearm stand, then working dolphin pose into your daily yoga practice will help you get there.

A few tips for getting into this pose:

  • begin in downward facing dog to make the transition a bit easier
  • make sure that your elbows are shoulder width apart to maintain proper alignment
  • press your forearms into the floor to help maintain balance
  • keep your forearms parallel to each other to protect your shoulder blades (improper alignment can cause pain)
  • lift your sitting bones toward the sky and press the forearms into the ground to make this an active posture
  • if this posture is too challenging for you, then try dropping your forearms one at a time while in downward dog

Even if you practice yoga daily, this is one of those yoga poses that will always provide a challenge. Even if you don’t want to get into a forearm stand eventually, this pose can help you alleviate back pain that comes with lots of sitting and driving. It does this by strengthening the upper body so that you’re better able to hold your spine upright and resist slouching.

If you want to try other yoga poses that will help you build up the strength to get into dolphin pose, then try one of these:

Want more yoga pose tutorials? See more in my Yoga Pose Directory.