Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose)

English Name(s)
Ardha Pinch Mayurasana
Dolphin Pose
Sanskrit
अर्ध पिन्च मयूरासन/ Ardh Pinca Mayūrāsana
Pronunciation
are-dah pin-cha my-your-AHS-anna
Meaning
Ardha: “half”
Pincha: “feathers”
Mayura: “peacock”
Asana: “Pose”

Introduction

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.

Studies based on different Yoga postures have shown that the pose has various benefits for physical, mental, and spiritual health. They help in stretching different parts of the body like the spine, hips, upper back muscles, etc. which in turn improves blood circulation to those areas and results in healthy functioning of organs situated there.

Muscle Focus

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana or Dolphin Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Back muscles (Latissimus Dorsi)
  • Calf Muscles (Gastrocnemius)
  • Shoulders (Deltoid)
  • Chest (Pectoralis)
  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteus
  • Triceps and Biceps (Arm Muscles)
  • Psoas (Hip flexors)
  • Quadriceps

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Improves arms strength.
  • Stretches key leg muscles.
  • Helps to prevent leg-related injuries.
  • Improves core strength.

Benefits of Ardha Pincha Mayurasana or Dolphin Pose

1. Helps to Relieve Spine

Practicing this Pose helps to relieve compression between vertebrae of the spine that can occur from sitting for long periods of time. It also provides a better alignment in the spine by focusing on equal pressure between the right and left arm and leg.

2. Strengthens Arms, Shoulders, Thighs

This Pose helps to strengthen your upper body as well as legs. When you have strong shoulders and forearms it helps you get into other poses like forearm balance with ease. Also strengthens back muscles including abdominals because this pose requires core strength to hold the posture correctly. Similarly strengthening thigh muscles is one of its benefits too, since Dolphin Pose requires continuous muscle engagement through both legs in order to stay balanced properly without falling down! 

3. Helps Beginners Work up to Handstands & Headstands

Dolphin Pose is an excellent preparatory pose for arm balances and inversions. It helps to build strength and confidence in the body, which are two important components of progressing into more challenging poses.

4. Gives Benefits of an Inversion Pose

It is one of the inversions or topsy-turvy postures which keeps the head below the heart level. Thus inverting your body brings more blood flow into the head and relieves pressure on the heart, improving overall circulation in the body.

5. Stretches Full Length of the Spine

The backbend aspect of Dolphin Pose helps to stretch out muscles along the entire length of your spine, from tailbone to neck! It also stretches hips and hamstrings as well. This pose is an excellent way to warm up before practicing deeper backbends such as Dancer Pose or Bow Pose. 

6. Stimulates Reproductive Organs

This pose stimulates the reproductive organs in both men and women. In women, it helps to relieve menstrual discomfort and reduce the symptoms of menopause. For men, it can help improve fertility by increasing blood flow to the area.

7. Calms Mind

The Asana is known for its calming effect on the mind, making it a great choice for those who suffer from depression or anxiety. The deep stretch involved in Dolphin Pose helps to release tension in the body and mind, creating a state of relaxation and peace.

8. Better Sleep

Regular practice of Dolphin Pose can help to improve your sleep, especially insomnia. It is a great way to unwind after a long day at the office and prepare for bedtime.

Contraindications

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.

Variations

  • Dolphin Pose with One-Legged (Eka Pada Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)

Preparatory Pose

  • Downward Facing Dog Pose(Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Dolphin Plank Pose (Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you find this pose too challenging, start by practicing Dolphin Plank instead.
  • Once you have mastered Dolphin Plank, you can try moving into Dolphin Pose.
  • Press firmly into your forearms and lift your hips up and back.
  • Make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears.

How to do Ardha Pincha Mayurasana or Dolphin Pose

  • Start by coming into all fours, keeping a neutral spine.
  • Slowly and gently bring your forearms down to the floor.
  • Your elbows should be directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Gently tuck your toes under and lift your knees off the floor.
  • Then, lift your tail bone higher towards the ceiling.
  • Walk your feet in towards your hands if needed, or away if you need more space.
  • Make sure to keep a neutral spine and avoid arching the back.
  • engage your core muscles to avoid overarching or sinking into the low back.
  • Hold for five breaths, then release. 

Mental Benefits of Ardha Pincha Mayurasana or Dolphin Pose

  • Helps calm your mind.
  • Can help deal with anxiety, stress, and depression.
  • It also improves focus and concentration levels.

Bottom Line

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana or Dolphin Pose is an excellent pose for beginner yogis. So there you have it! A comprehensive introduction to Ardha Pincha Mayurasana or Dolphin Pose, a beginner’s guide that is sure to help you get started on your journey to mastering this semi-inversion posture.

1 sources
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336942/
Meera Watts
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).

One thought on “Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose)

  1. Hi Meera!
    It’s Sandra Stephanson from Canada!
    I finished my 300 RYT with Siddhi just outside of Dharamshala in 2018.

    I just ran my first retreat in McLeod Ganj in November 2019. It was so mush fun & intense! It gives me so much more appreciation for your organization & also I love your explanations of asana!

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