Dolphin pose also known as Ardha Pincha Mayurasana is a yoga posture that involves balancing on your forearms and toes while stretching and strengthening the upper body and lower body muscles. This posture is similar to downward-facing dog, but instead of the hands, the forearms are placed on the ground. The pose is named after the way dolphins swim gracefully in the ocean, evoking a sense of fluidity and strength.
In dolphin pose, the shoulders, arms, and core muscles are engaged to hold the body in an inverted V-shape. The legs and hips are also activated, stretching the hamstrings and calves. The Dolphin pose is often used as a preparatory pose for more advanced arm balances and inversions, as it helps to build upper body strength and stability.
Dolphin pose can be practiced by people of all levels and abilities, with modifications available for those with wrist or shoulder issues. This pose is a great way to improve posture, increase flexibility and strength, and reduce stress and tension in the body.
This pose is rooted in the idea of balance and flow. The pose is named after dolphins, which are known for their graceful movement and playfulness in the ocean. Like dolphins, humans also have the potential to move with fluidity and strength, and dolphin pose helps to cultivate these qualities.
In yoga philosophy, balance is seen as an essential aspect of life, and the practice of yoga is a means of achieving this balance within the body and mind. The Dolphin pose offers an opportunity to cultivate this balance, promoting a sense of harmony between strength and flexibility, effort and ease, and movement and stillness.
Here are the detailed steps to practice dolphin pose:
- Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Lower your forearms to the ground, keeping your elbows shoulder-width apart and your palms facing down.
- Tuck your toes under and lift your hips up towards the ceiling, straightening your legs as much as possible.
- Walk your feet in towards your hands until your hips are directly over your shoulders.
- Press your forearms firmly into the ground and draw your shoulder blades down your back.
- Lengthen through your spine and keep your head and neck relaxed.
- Hold the pose for 5-10 deep breaths, then slowly release and come back down to your hands and knees.
Some tips to keep in mind while practicing dolphin pose:
- Keep your gaze between your forearms or towards your feet.
- Engage your core muscles to support your lower back and keep your hips lifted.
- If you feel any discomfort in your wrists or shoulders, you can modify the pose by practicing with your forearms on a block or using dolphin pose as a preparatory posture for forearm stand or headstand.
Benefits of Dolphin pose
Dolphin pose, or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana in Sanskrit, is a yoga posture that offers numerous benefits, including:
- Strengthens the arms, shoulders, and core muscles.
- Stretches and lengthens the hamstrings, calves, and spine.
- Can help to relieve tension and stress in the shoulders and neck.
- Improves posture and spinal alignment.
- Builds stability and endurance in the body.
- Can help to improve digestion and circulation.
- Calms the mind and reduces anxiety and stress.
- Can be practiced by people of all levels and abilities, with modifications available for those with wrist or shoulder issues.
- Can prepare the body for more advanced arm balances and inversions.
- Stimulates the third eye and crown chakras, promoting inner wisdom and connection to the divine.
Precautions of Dolphin pose
Dolphin pose is generally considered a safe and accessible yoga posture, but there are a few precautions to keep in mind:
- If you have any wrist, shoulder, or neck injuries or limitations, be cautious when practicing dolphin pose, as it requires weight-bearing on the upper body.
- If you experience any pain or discomfort in the neck, shoulders, or upper back, you can modify the pose by placing a folded blanket or towel under your forearms for extra support.
- Avoid practicing dolphin pose if you have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease, as the inversion may increase blood pressure.
- If you are pregnant, it is best to avoid practicing dolphin pose in the later stages of pregnancy, as it places pressure on the abdomen.
- If you have any other medical concerns or conditions, consult with your healthcare provider before practicing dolphin pose or any other physical activity.
To know more about this and other postures, please join our upcoming Yoga Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh with Rishikesh Yogshala.