Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana): How to Do, Benefits and Precautions

dolphin pose

Sanskrit PronunciationAr-duh Pin-chah my-yurah-sah-nah
MeaningArdha - Half
Pincha - Feather
Mayura - peacock
Asana - pose
Pose TypeInversion, Forward bending
Pose LevelBeginner, Hold for 30-60 seconds
Beneficial InStretching, digestion, and flexibility

Dolphin Pose is a basic and easy yoga asana if you want to open up your shoulders and tone the biceps.

This Asana is very similar to Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana). The only difference is, we have to place the forearms forward supporting body weight instead of the wrist. So, if you are having wrist pain, you can perform this asana in place of Downward Dog.

It is very beneficial for the body as it aids in the flexibility and strength of the entire body. As Dolphin Pose gives more than a half benefits of Headstand or Shirshasana, it is an extremely good option for those who can not perform Headstand.

Why We Call It Dolphin Pose

Like many of the other Yoga Asanas, this asana is also named on the basis of the body posture during this asana.

While performing this Asana, our body looks like a dolphin jumping out of the water, therefore we call it Dolphin Pose.

When we perform this asana, our body form elbows to toes looks like an inverted ‘V’. It is a good preparatory pose for more intense asanas. Let’s see how to perform it.

How to Perform Dolphin Pose

dolphin pose instructions

In Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, you have to maintain your body weight on your arms, while placing toes firmly on the floor and lifting the hips.

Here is the step by step instruction to perform this asana.

Preparing the Pose

  • Come to your knees and arms, placing the knees hip-width apart. i.e. Come to the Tabletop position.
  • Now, fold your hands from elbows, and place your forearms on the floor.
  • Measure out your elbows by clasping opposite elbows. This is the width you need to maintain between your elbows.

Note- Keep the palms facing down and spread all the fingers, middle finger-pointing forwards.

Getting Into the Pose

  • With an inhalation, tuck your toes, lift your knees off the floor and raise your hips towards the ceiling. Your head should not be touching the floor. You can either stretch it or let it free, depends on your comfort.

Note- Your shoulder blades must be firm into your ribs and your shoulders should be wide. Here your legs will be straight and you have to balance your body weight on your forearms and toes.

  • Now, bring your feet (walk-in) towards your chest as much as you are comfortable. Your feet should be straight or a little bend from your knees.
  • Keep your spine straight and try to touch your heels to the floor.

This is the moment where your body will lo0k like an inverted ‘V’.

  • Now start taking slow & deep breaths and hold this position for 4 to 10 breaths (30-60 seconds).

Releasing the Asana

  • When you are done, slowly draw your hips down and place your knees on the floor.
  • Now, lift your elbows off the floor and rest in Balasana(Child Pose). Else, you can straighten your legs and relax.

If you want, you can repeat this asana 2-3 times in a single session.

Beginner’s Tips

If you are a beginner, you might feel it hard to keep the legs straight. So, it is okay if you bend legs a little from the knees. But, do not bend them much.

You can place a folded blanket under your elbows to reduce discomfort on the elbows. Also, you can place a folded blanket under your feet to give them extra support.

In the beginning, you might have a deep temptation to clasp both hands, but do not clasp them. Instead, you can place a yoga block between them and press it with both hands. In the beginning, it is best to take some help from a partner to avoid mistakes.

Precautions and Contraindications

Although Dolphin Pose is very beneficial for your body, still, you need to take the following precautions to prevent injuries and ill effects from this asana.

  • Do not fold your legs much as it will eliminate all the stretch from the back and legs.
  • Do not overstretch your body. Stretch until your body is comfortable. Going beyond it can be harmful.
  • If you are having a recent or deep injury on shoulder, neck, arm or thighs, do not perform this asana, as it can be painful to you.
  • If you have a weak back or core, consult a doctor before performing this asana. As Dolphin Pose focuses on core and back muscles, performing it in such conditions can show adverse effects.

How does Dolphin Pose Works

Dolphin pose gives an overall stretch to the whole body. Let’s see how it works or the science behind Dolphin Pose.

Starting from the top, this asana mainly focuses on the shoulders. It brings all the weight to the elbows and stretches the shoulders.

Then, lifting the hips stretches the muscles of the back, hips, and pelvis. This also brings a lot of strain to the core muscles.

Coming to the lower body, lifting the hips puts, the muscles of the whole back part of the legs, into work. Also, when we try to push the heels down, an additional stretch is generated on the thighs, calves, and hamstring.

This is how Dolphin pose works and stretches the body muscles. Now, let’s move towards its benefits.

Benefits of Dolphin Pose

  • As this asana puts the shoulders into work, it removes stiffness from the shoulders. It tones the muscles of the shoulders and improves their flexibility and strength. Also, it makes the forearms strong and increases its strength.
  • In Dolphin Pose, we exert a gentle pressure in the back. This pressure massages the spinal columns and increases the blood flow throughout the spine. It keeps the spine healthy and flexible.

Also, it expands the chest region thus helps in better respiration.

  • This pose stretches the muscle of legs. This stretch increases the flexibility and strength of thighs, calves, and hamstring.
  • Ardha Pincha Mayurasana tones the abdominal muscles without any intense physical activity. This helps to accelerate the function of abdominal muscles and glands such as the liver, intestines, kidneys, etc.

Thus this asana helps to improve metabolism and digestion of the body. Also, it gives a good shape to the core(abs) and slowly-slowly reduces the belly fat.

  • It increases the blood flow to the pineal gland. This gland regulates the hormones for relaxation of the body. Thus this asana helps you to relax your body.
  • On the spiritual level, Dolphin Pose allows the flow of Prana to the Crown Chakra. This improves our point of view and fills us with positive sensations.

Also, it reduces mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, sadness, and anger.

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