Kukkutasana (Cockerel Pose): Steps, Benefits & Precautions

kukkutasana - Cockerel pose or rooster pose
Source: Canva
Kukkutasana Sanskrit Pronunciation

kukkutasana is one of the ancient poses that isn’t intended to meditate but to strengthen the body physically. Out of 15 poses described in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, kukkutasana is the one that isn’t a sitting pose. Indeed, It’s the mix up of arm balancing and sitting pose.

The final position in kukkutasana = Arm Balancing like crow pose + Sitting like lotus pose.

Anatomically, it requires strong coordination of core muscles, triceps, and hand-wrist muscles. It makes kukkutasana an advanced pose and one of the challenging poses for beginners.

Meaning

In Sanskrit Kukkut means ‘cockerel’ or adult male chicken ‘rooster’. So Kukkutasana is called the ‘cockerel pose’ or the ‘rooster pose’. Some people also spell it as Kukudasana.

In Kukkutasana, legs wrapped around the forearms in Padmasana make the body resembles like a cockerel. Here, our hands and palms look like the shank and toes of a cock respectively through which whole body weight is transferred to the ground.

In another sense of meaning, rooster, the male chicken is a representation of virility. By practicing Kukkutasana, sexual energy gets focused which further can be redirected to increase the virility of the body.

Kukkutasana is commonly found in the following types of yoga sequence:

  •  Ashtanga Primary Series Sequence
  •  Iyengar yoga sequence
  • Core yoga sequence
  •  Hip opening yoga sequence

kukkutasana Practice Guide

how to do kukkutasana - Cockerel pose or rooster pose
Source: Canva

Go through the points below to practice kukkutasana easily and safely.

Precautions & Contraindications

  • Avoid Kukkutasana in case of high blood pressure, heart or lung problems, back pain, hernia, prolapse, gastric ulcers, enlarged spleen, or knee injuries
  • Pregnant women should avoid this, and even those who are in menstruation.
  • In case of an injured wrist or weak wrist, weak elbow, or shoulder don’t practice Kukkutasana.

Preparatory Poses

These poses will prepare body to go in Kukkutasana easily.

Steps

Follow the steps below to do Kukkutasana – cockerel pose

  1. Sit in Padmasana

    Begin with sitting in cross-legged position of Padamasana. Roll your thighs and calf muscles out to create a space in between them.

  2. Insert hands in between thighs and calves

    First, push fingers and then gradually your hands up to the elbow level in the space between thighs and calf.
    Firmly place your hands next to each other (both thumb should be touching) and point fingers forward.

  3. Exhale, lift your body off the floor

    Push your hands firmly on the floor and with an exhalation, lift your body up from buttocks. Balance the body here using the strength of your arms and core.
    Check your hands and back, it should be erect and breath normally.

  4. Rest, release, and change crossing of legs

    After holding it for a few breaths, rest on the floor, release the hands and then change the crossing of your legs in Padmasana. Repeat the pose with changed crossing.

Beginners Tips

  • To find balance in Kukkutasana, fix your gaze on a point or object when the body is off the ground.
  • If you find it hard to insert your hands in between the legs, apply oil on your forearms and inner thighs.
  • When you are raising the hips above the ground, then engage your Mula bandha i.e. pull the anus upwards.
  • Don’t lean forward with your back, if you do so, you’ll lose the balance immediately and fall forward

Props & Modifications

To ease the Kukkutasana complexity, use the props mentioned below to modify pose.

  • If you’re afraid of losing balance while off the ground, place a bolster in front of you to hold you in such condition. Otherwise, you might prone to injury in Kukkutasana 1.
  • Place thin folded blankets on your thighs in case you haven’t a good grip of legs in a cross-legged pose like padmasana.

Variations

1. Garbha Pindasana

garbha pindasana - a variation of kukkutasana
Source: canva

‘Embryo in Womb Pose’ or sometimes also called Garbhasana, is a rolling variation of Kukkutasana.

2. Urdhva Kukkutasana

Urdhva Kukkutasana
Source: canva

In this variation, unlike Kukkutasana, hands aren’t inserted between legs instead, placed on sides of thighs. Then, with legs in Padmasana raised and hold near armpits.

3. Parsva Kukkutasana

When in Urdhva Kukkutasana, hold the legs in Padmasana on the one elbow only, it becomes Parsva Kukkutasana (Side cockrele pose).

Follow Up Poses

  • Gupta padmasana
  • Urdhva padmasana in sarvangasana
  •  Sirsasana II

Kukkutasana Benefits

  • This asana exerts immense pressure on the wrist, shoulder, ankle, and knee joints hence strengthen them. However, the regular practice of kukkutasana promotes smooth blood flow that also strengthens and tone up the concerning muscles.
  • Padmasana in kukkutasana causes muscles of hips, upper thigh, and lower back to stretch, which improves their mobility. Therefore, regular practice makes one flexible 2.
  • Balancing on just hands require concentration along with strength. This asana is one of the best poses to sharpen one’s focus. It refines the coordination between ear, eye muscle, and the brain responsible for body balancing. Ultimately, improve concentration.
  • Abdominal region experiences pressure which in turn provides a massaging effect on the digestive organ. This enhances the production of digestive enzymes and juices. Therefore, digest and assimilate efficiently.
  • In this asana, the practitioner experiences physical stimulation that surges endorphins (a natural painkiller) in the brain. This process induces good sleep and simultaneously reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Kukkutasana enhances the metabolism to generate heat in the body. This burns off the extra belly fat or calories and sweats it out throughout the practice. However, also reduces the chances of diabetes.
  • The appropriate practice of this asana results in the activation of the mooladhara chakra. This adds vitality, vigor, and growth in the practitioner’s life. Also reduces the qualities like laziness and unnecessary physical desires.
  • Massaging effect on the abdomen also stimulates adrenal glands, which regulate the then regulates metabolism, blood pressure, and immune system, etc.

References

  1. Injury and fear in Kukkutasana https://www.reddit.com/r/ashtanga/comments/9ud8jh/injury_and_fear_in_kukkutasana/
  2. ASSERTION OF TRADITIONAL YOGA IN HUMAN HEALTHAND VALUE EDUCATIO https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/

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