Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose)
Ardha Pinch Mayurasana
अर्ध पिन्च मयूरासन/ Ardh Pinca Mayūrāsana
are-dah pin-cha my-your-AHS-anna
Ardha Pincha Mayurasana is a semi-inversion that brings more blood flow into the head, strengthens the upper body, and prepares the yogi for arm balances and inversions.
Dolphin Pose is an excellent alternative to Downward Facing Dog because it relieves pressure on the wrists. Sore wrists are a common affliction in beginner yogis. Dolphin Pose also challenges the intermediate yoga to approach Downward Dog in a different way, by placing weight on the forearms, there is less space for extension through the armpits.
This pose helps to build confidence in the body by engaging the arm muscles in a different way. Confidence is one part of the equation in building up to inversions, such as Headstand or Forearm Stand. It is important to get used to the sensation of being upside down, looking toward the floor.
Strengthens the shoulders, arms, abdominals, back, hips and hamstrings. Stretches the chest, mid- and lower back, hips and hamstrings.
This pose is excellent for preparing the body to have enough strength and flexibility in the shoulders to practice headstand.
Dolphin Pose can help relieve compression between the vertebrae in your spine, which can be caused by sitting for long periods of time. Additionally, the pose can encourage better alignment in the spine, by focusing on equal pressure between the right and left arm and leg.
Because this pose is a semi-inversion, it provides relief to the heart by allowing gravity assist in bringing blood back to the heart. Semi-inversions can stimulate blood flow, and in turn aid the lymphatic fluid to circulate through the body more easily as well. When your lymphatic system is operating with ease, you don’t get sick as often, you’ll have more energy and you’ll sleep better.
Dolphin Pose can help you sleep better too! Any yoga pose that brings extra blood flow to the head can stimulate the pineal gland. This gland is responsible for creating and distributing melatonin in the body, which regulates sleep cycles.
This pose is excellent for relieving cramps, headaches and for easing anxiety. When we release Dolphin Pose, there can be a rush of blood and energy throughout the body that causes a flushing effect through the organs.
People with recent or recurring shoulder or neck injuries should practice caution when practicing the pose. Those with a very weak core and/or back could find this pose quite challenging. People who experience extremely tight hamstrings should bend the knees in this pose.
Going into the Pose
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).