Peacock Arm Balance

This arm balance looks incredibly impressive, but what is truly amazing is the ability to teach not just the balance itself, but the progressions that make this fantastic achievement possible. Fortunately, Sharon, pictured above, has the skills, qualifications and the expertise to do just that.

The balance is called peacock or Mayurasana and it is thought to symbolise concepts such as love or immortality. You may already be familiar with the peacock gesture (Mayura Mundra) in which you join your thumb to your ring finger.

As you can see from the picture, this posture strengthens the wrists and the forearms. Really good abdominal strength is needed to be able to sustain the pose. It includes an element of counterbalance with the legs held parallel to the ground, helping to stabilise and maintain balance. This pose will certainly challenge your muscles in an unusual way, ensuring that you develop significant core stability and strength.

You will need to focus your eye gaze forwards whilst shifting your weight forward, then experiment, playing around with your balance – perhaps floating one leg into the air at a time whilst you acclimatise before eventually floating both legs into the air, squeezing and engaging your inner thighs as you lift and balance.

The trick, if there is one, is to move your centre of gravity forward, allowing your legs to float almost naturally off the ground. You will feel a little like a human seesaw as you find the perfect equilibrium or balance.

Peacock is a really advanced posture, so it takes time and patience to be able to achieve it. It’s definitely not one you should try if you have any issues with your wrists, elbows or shoulders, but if chaturanga dandasana is one of your favourite postures, peacock might be one to try as your next challenge.

This is where a great yoga teacher comes into their own: they can help you learn all the progressions that build up to this posture and they can use props like bricks and blocks to help you get the feel of the posture safely and in a controlled environment. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll be richly rewarded – the posture really frees the mind and the soul and almost feels like you are about to take off and fly – but you’ll need a fantastic, supportive teacher to be able to achieve the posture safely.

Sharon is an expert when it comes to chakras: her chakra meditation is quite the best I have ever heard. Peacock arm balance helps to energise the second chakra, known as Manipura or the naval chakra, which is thought to be the centre of vitality controlling our energy balance.

As we always advise, please make sure you consult your health care professionals before you take up any new types of exercise.

manipura chakra

 

 

 

 

And the All Time Classic Yoga Pose has to be…

Adho Mukha Svanasana

This classic yoga pose is fantastic for increasing your flexibility in your shoulders and hamstrings. One of the inversion poses, it’s also good for increasing the blood supply to your brain making this a very strengthening and invigorating pose.

There are a few adaptations you can make if this pose is too strong for you. It’s fine to bend the knees or you could opt for puppy dog pose, where you are kneeling. This takes some of the intensity of the pose away but keeps the super shoulder stretch. Your eye gaze (drishti) depends on where your heels are in this pose: if your heels are down, your eye gaze should be towards your navel; if your heels are lifted, your eye gaze is towards the back of the mat.

This pose often features in sun salutations as a key part of this dynamic, fluid, warm sequence of postures. It’s probably the pose that most people are familiar with since it energizes the body, helping to calm and focus the mind. You will feel an amazing stretch whilst you strengthen the arms and legs.

Some purists have specific ideas about the correct way to perform this pose but for us it is very much about listening to your body, finding that connection with movement, feeling the joy of exercise and being totally at one in the moment as you lift your hips up, straighten your legs and push your heels to the floor. With your palms pressing into the floor and your fingers spread you can allow your chest to move towards your thighs.

Remind yourself to be kind in your postures. Celebrate what you can do and don’t get caught up in the pursuit of the perfect posture: remember it’s about what is right for you at any given moment in time.

Adho Mukha Svanasana is a great way to get to know your body and find what works best for you. We always suggest that you allow an expert to help and guide your practise, taking into account your physical make up – the length of your long bones, the amount of flexibility at your joints, and the elasticity of your tendons and ligaments.

If you live in easy reach of our hot yoga studio in Lancashire, why not join us for a few sessions so we can help you make the most of your genetics?

Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as going on a diet or embarking on an exercise programme.