• Mayurasana (Peacock Pose): Its History, Method and Meaning, BAHIRANGA.COM MARCH 2017

    Posted in Articles by Eric Shaw

    A lot of the poses invented in the modern day tend to be shockingly complex and hard to do.

    All this new pose-making pushes toward complexity in an attempt to make a newer New where so much new has been made before, for–as many of you know–the work of asana invention has been going on now for thousands of years.  

    Like many modern poses, Mayurasana definitely fits in the “complex and hard to do” category, but it’s not new.  It’s been around for half a thousand years.

    We find a description of it in the 500-year-old Hatha Yoga Pradipika

    As you can see from the images here, its shape is unusual and—arguably—unnatural.

    Besides the delightful physical challenge it gives us–and the benefits to balance, strength, and endurance it offers—we might ask, “why do such a pose?”

    Figure 1. A circa 1820 wall painting from the Maha Mandir in Jodhpur, India.

    The Old Texts

    The old texts offer simple descriptions of how to do a pose, yet they often make BIG promises about what a pose can do for you.

    The descriptions of Mayuranasa are a fine example of this.

    They offer one of the most interesting promises we find in the historical record.

    The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (HYP), chapter 1, verses 30 – 31, tells us:

    “Hold the Earth with both hands. Place the sides of the navel on the elbows. Rise high above the ground like a stick. This is Mayurasana.



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