Asana of the Month: Pincha Mayurasana


Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons. This month, it’s Pincha Mayurasana (Feathered Peacock Pose, aka Forearm Balance), As BKS Iyengar explains in Light on Yoga, “[a]t the approach of the rainy season, peacocks dance. When they start, they lift up their trailing tail feathers and spread them to form fans. In this posture, the trunk and legs are lifted off the floor and the body is balanced on the forearms and palms. The pose resembles that of a peacock starting his dance.”

While Pincha Mayurasana may resemble a “peacock starting his dance,” we’re not talking about an easy peasy Texas two-step here. We’re talking dance that requires serious commitment—practice and patience—the same ingredients necessary for the journey toward Pincha Mayurasana.

Yoga and meditation teacher Cyndi Lee suggests that:

“As you work to build up to Pincha Mayurasana—a pose that requires a courageous, open heart, not to mention flexibility in the upper back and shoulders—notice when you feel challenged. If the physical part is hanging you up, concentrate on your upper body or your abdominal muscles to create the conditions necessary to go upside down. If fear is the problem and it takes hold, fully experience its texture as it arises, stay steady as those feelings move through you, and watch how they naturally dissolve. The seeds of change already exist within you. Even if you don’t go upside down today, you have everything you need—your breath, your patience, and your resolve—to transform your fear into curiosity and your cautious preparations into the exhilaration of a full inversion.

Pincha Mayurasana (Feathered Peacock Pose/Forearm Balance):

Pinca = feather

Mayura = peacock

Benefits [as cited in]:

  • Strengthens the shoulders, arms, and back
  • Strentches the shoulders and neck, chest, and belly
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Improves balance


  • Shoulder, neck, or back injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart condition
  • Menstruation
  • Glaucoma

Preparatory Poses:

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
  • Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Downward-Facing Tree Pose/Handstand)
  • Prasarita Padottanasana (with a block squeezed between the bent elbows)
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  • Shoulder and chest openers (i.e., Gomukhasana/Cow-Face Pose arms)

Song that Most Comes to Mind While Moving Toward the Posture:

From the Bad Boys II soundtrack: “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” by Nelly, P. Diddy & Murphy Lee.

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