Feathered Peacock Pose

5 Dec

Feathered Peacock Pose

Intention

Is to create a light graceful inverted asana that resembles a dancing peacock

Benefits

  • Promotes confidence and balance
  • The shoulder girdle and chest are opened
  • Strengthens the arms and shoulders
  • Invigorates the body
  • Promotes core strength in the body
  • Stimulates the SNS sympathetic nervous system
  • Heats the body

Contraindications

  1. Injury or inflammation of the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders or neck
  2. Heart disease
  3. High blood pressure
  4. History of a stroke
  5. Injury or inflammation of the lumbar spine or lower back
  6. Sciatica
  7. Hiatus hernia
  8. Glaucoma or detached retina
  9. Menstruation
  10. Pregnancy
  11. Headache
  12. Migraines

Teaching technique

  1. Kneeling on the mat facing the wall at the end of the mat prepare for Pincha Mayurasana by placing the forearms on the mat with the fingers touching the wall and a block placed between the forefingers of the hands to separate them and keep the forearms parallel
  2. A strap can be looped around the upper arms just above the elbows to stop the elbows separating from shoulder width apart and to help create a strong foundation for this inverted asana
  3. Spread the fingers of the hands which are active as wide apart as possible with the middle finger in line with the elbows curling the ends of the fingers to create springs that will control the balance of the inverted body
  4. Tuck the toes of the feet under, straighten the legs and walk the feet forward as far as possible to wards the head as if practicing Adha Mukha Svanasana and press the forearms into the floor activating the muscles of the upper arms and shoulders to create a lifting foundation to support the inverted body
  5. Lift one leg as high as possible to create a pendulum leg that will swing up into a vertical position to stabilize the asana while the other leg follows then bend the knee of the other leg to create a springing leg that Will create the force necessary to kick the body and other leg into a vertical position
  6. Exhale activate Mulabandha to stabilize and support the connection of the pelvis to the legs and the connection of the lumbar spine S1L5 then activate and wrap the outer abdominal muscles the obliques, transverse and rectus around this inner core to create a muscular girdle of strength and stability around the pelvis
  7. Inhale activate Uddiyanabandha to stabilize the thoracic spine then activate and wrap the outer ribcage muscles of intercostals, serratus anterior, pectoralis, rhomboids major and minor, latissimus dorsi and trapezius around this inner core to create a muscular girdle of strength and stability around the ribcage
  8. With the torso of the body strengthened and stabilized by these two muscular girdles bend the lower leg knee and kicking into the floor propel the torso and upper leg into a vertical position above the forearms where they create a counter balance as the lower leg is lifted from the floor to rise up beside the upper leg with the inner ankle bones of the feet together
  9. The legs are extended towards the ceiling by pushing up through the inner heels of the feet and when the inverted torso and legs are vertically integrated the ankles are released and the feet are placed in a planta-flexed position
  10. Hold Pincha Mayurasana using thoracic horizontal breathing as long as it is relatively comfortable and the active upper arms are creating an upward lifting foundation through the forearms but when arms tire and the shoulders sag towards the floor release the asana by lowering one leg to gently, slowly to the floor using the inverted vertical torso and upper leg to counter balance and control the lower leg as it is lowered down until the toes make contact with the floor
  11. With the inverted torso and upper leg supported by the lower leg and foot on the floor lower the upper leg gently and slowly to the floor, bend the knees and assume the pose of Balasana to recover

Modifications

  • If Pincha Mayurasana is too difficult then use a modified Ardho Mukha Svanasana where the forearms are placed onto the floor and the legs walked towards the head pushing the torso into a nearly vertical position where arm and shoulder strength can be developed for the more difficult asana of Pincha Mayurasana
  • For stiff shoulders use the modified Ardho Mukha Svanasana with a partner sitting in front of you who can gently press their feet onto your scapulas to stretch and open your shoulders
  • Practice Pincha Mayurasana close to a wall with the torso in a vertical position, bend the knees and place the soles of the feet on the wall so that the legs are horizontal to the floor, then practice extending one leg at a time towards the ceiling
  • Practice Pincha Mayurasana close to a wall so the feet of the extended legs can be dropped over to the wall for balance, support and safety
  • Strap the upper arms together just above the elbows to stop the elbows separating and the shoulders
    sagging
  • Place a block between the thumb and forefinger of each hand to separate the hands and keep the forearms parallel to each other

Common misalignments

  • The palms and fingers of the hands are placed flat on the floor losing their ability to control the balance of the inverted body because the fingers cannot work like springs
  • The wrists rotate and the hands roll out onto the outer blade side lifting the base of the thumb and forefinger away from the floor
  • The forearms roll outward so that the ulna and radius bones of the forearm are not able to create a stable foundation for Pincha Mayurasana because they are not both in contact with the floor
  • The hands slide towards each other or the elbows spread apart so the forearms are not parallel to each other
  • The forearms are not pushed into the floor creating lift for the body above which sags downward pushing the face towards the floor
  • One forearm pushes into the floor more strongly than the other creating an uneven foundation which causes the inverted body to tilt towards the opposite side
  • The chin is lifted too far away from the sternum affecting the Hyoid bone and creating stress in the posterior cervical spine and neck
  • The Bandhas of Mula or Uddiyana are released so that the inner core is lost and the lumbar curve is exaggerated creating stress in the lower posterior spine
  • The pelvis is allowed to tilt or twist so that the legs lose their vertical or symmetrical integrity
  • The legs are dropped forward over the head losing their vertical alignment
  • The muscles of the upper and lower legs are not activated so that the thighs and inner ankles bones do not press together symmetrically

Counter pose

Balasana where the body rests to relieve any tension created by Pincha Mayurasana, the spine is gently stretched from the sacrum to the skull and the forward bend introverts and calms the mind promoting the PNS parasympathetic nervous system.

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