How to do Peacock Pose (Mayurasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Woman in mayurasana pose

 Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Also Known As: Mayurasana

Targets: Forearm, wrists, and arms

Level: Advanced

Peacock Pose (Mayurasana) is an advanced hand-balancing yoga pose. It is most associated with Hatha yoga, though it’s practiced in other types of yoga as well.
By balancing on your hands, your wrists and forearms are stretched and your core and back are engaged. This pose is a great way to release tension in the body, elongate your limbs and challenge your balancing skills.

Due to its advanced nature, this yoga pose is best incorporated near the middle or end of a sequence of postures, such as a sun salutation or sequence of seated poses. Prepare for this advanced yoga pose by opening up the body parts that are targeted. The wrists are especially prone to straining, so wrist stretches are encouraged.

Very little equipment is required to master this pose — just a yoga mat and you. Beginners may want to ease into the pose with a yoga block or other foundational prop for support.

Benefits

Balancing poses like Peacock Pose are beneficial for building core strength necessary for other advanced poses. You will feel the stretch the deepest in your wrists and forearms, though your core will also be engaged. As you balance your body on your hands, the extension of your legs will help release tension by opening up your back.

As you squeeze your legs together to keep your lower body above the ground, your pelvis will also open up, and your thigh muscles will become engaged. This stretch opens up and strengths the whole body. The anti-gravity aspect of Peacock Pose may appeal to people who stand on their feet for long hours during the day.

Many advanced arm poses require enough upper body strength to balance the rest of the body. It takes a lot of regular practice for people of all experience levels to master this pose and experience the benefits. Incorporating this hand-balancing pose will prepare you for other yoga poses that require upper body strength and balance.

Step-by-Step Instructions

You can perform Peacock Pose on a yoga mat, carpeted floor, or soft surface. No equipment is required, but a yoga block or yoga towel is optional.
1. Start in an upright seated position. Sit on your knees and heels in the Hero Pose (Virasana). Keeping some distance between your knees will open up your hips.

2. Lean your shoulders forward and place your hands on the ground in front of you. As you lean forward, your elbows will bend slightly. Make sure your hands and elbows face inward towards your heart.

3. As you press your palms into the floor, your torso will press against the back of your upper arms. Your head will come forward towards the mat.

4. Unbend your knees and extend your legs behind you, toes facing the floor. Your bodyweight should be distributed on your hands and feet. 

5. Engage your core as you prepare to shift the weight of your lower body to your upper body.

6. Squeeze your thighs together so your legs become one unit. Use your toes to shift the weight to your upper body.

7. Lift your feet off the ground one at a time. As you regain balance in your arms, lift your legs so that they are parallel to the ground.

8. Lift your head and look forward. Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds, keeping your core, pelvis, and thighs engaged.

9. Release the pose by lowering your feet to the ground, then your knees. Lift off of your hands and sit back on your knees and heels to take the pressure off of your wrists.

Common Mistakes

It’s important to avoid these common mistakes to maintain proper form and prevent injury or sprain. Extra caution is needed to avoid straining the wrists.

Don’t start your sequence with this pose

This pose should be done near the middle or end of your sequence. Warm-up to this pose with beginner poses that improve strength and balance. Utilize other arm-balancing poses to ease your wrists into this advanced stretch. If needed, perform wrist stretches to avoid strain.

Rocking back and forth at the top of the pose

As you try to balance the weight of your lower body on your hands and arms, you may feel like a seesaw or teeter-totter. Keep your elbows narrowed in. Your arms should not be shoulder-length apart, but rather closer together. This will create a strong foundation for the pose. Additionally, you may just need more practice on improving balance.

Leaning too far forward

This is called a balancing pose for a reason. Though most of the bodyweight is carried by the upper body, you should avoid leaning all the way forward. With your fingers pointing towards your pelvis and your wrists in a vulnerable position, leaning the head toward the ground may cause harm to your bones. Remain in an upright position as you find a balance between leaning forward and backward.

Don’t lift your legs dramatically

When shifting your body weight to your arms, it’s tempting to lift up quickly and all at once. However, this increases the risk that you will lose balance and potentially injure your wrists. Instead, lift one foot at a time. Make small shifts that allow your upper body to adjust before entering into the final pose.

Release the pose safely

Like take off, you’ll want to return to the floor gently instead of eagerly. Releasing the pose all at once may cause you to fall onto the floor. Release the pose gracefully and safely by lowering one foot at a time and shifting the weight off of your wrists and onto your lower body.

Modifications and Variations

Need a Modification?

Peacock Pose is an advanced yoga pose because it requires upper body strength and balance. If you can’t lift up your legs while remaining balanced and secure on your hands, there are some modifications and beginner-friendly poses to help you ease into the final pose.
First, beginners should warm up with a plank pose, such as Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana). If you are at the intermediate level, you can warm up with the Crow Pose (Bakasana).

Try resting a yoga block under your pelvis. This will help you stabilize your form as you lift your feet off the ground. It will also help you ease into the pose by encouraging proper balance. With practice, you may be able to perform Peacock Pose without these modifications.

Up for a Challenge?

To make Peacock Pose more challenging, try some of these techniques. Lift your legs higher than your head without allowing your head to return to the floor. You can also graduate to a one-armed Peacock Pose.

Peacock Pose is truly unique as its one of few arm-balancing yoga poses where the hands are facing inward. However, there are other advanced poses that will challenge your ability to balance your body weight on your hands and arms.

Once you’ve mastered Peacock Pose, use your balancing skills to do Hurdler Pose (Eka Pada Koundinyasana II). This is an advanced arm balance pose where one leg is extended to your side. Hurdler Pose will also strengthen your arms, which is why it complements Peacock Pose nicely. 

Safety and Precautions

If you experience pain in your wrists, arms or hands during this pose, release it safely.

Do not do Peacock Pose after abdominal surgery because the elbows apply pressure to the stomach during this pose. Check with your doctor to see how long after surgery you can perform this pose.

Pregnant women should not perform this pose as your stomach rests on your elbows.

There is strong involvement of the wrists and other arm joints in this yoga pose. People with wrist and elbow injuries should abstain from placing pressure on these body parts

Try It Out

Incorporate this pose into one of these popular workouts:

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