Pincha Mayurasana (pin-cha my-your-AHS-anna) or Feathered Peacock Pose is an arm balance that can teach us a lot more about ourselves than arms strength.
I attended two graduation ceremonies this summer and the focus of each commencement address was ‘failure.” When we try and fail, we learn valuable life lessons. In a world that seems to only celebrate success, it was a great message for our youth — don’t be afraid to fail. In fact one speech said “go ahead and fail marvelously and make interesting mistakes. Then pick yourself up and keep going.”
Falling out of poses is something that happens in yoga. It might happen when you try a new pose you have never tried before or when you try to do a pose that is beyond your current strength or balance ability. A yoga practice is not about perfecting poses, it is about moving and challenging your body. If you never fall out of a pose, it’s likely that you aren’t challenging yourself due to a fear of failure.
- Do Forearm Plank and Dolphin Pose before practicing Pincha Mayurasana.
- Bring a mat to a wall. Kneel facing the wall. Place your forearms on the floor. Your forearms should look like a number 11 with your elbows right under your shoulders. Palms face down with fingers spread wide. Your middle fingers should be about 6 inches from the wall.
- Lift up into a Dolphin Pose keeping your arms just as they are and face the floor.
- Stay wide in the shoulders. Root down with the entire forearm and hand. Pay particular attention to the inside of the hand and forearm.
- Lift your hips like in Dolphin Pose and Downward Facing Dog. Walk your feet in closer to your torso.
- Lift one leg up, leading with the inseam of the leg. Bend the knee of the other leg and kick yourself up. It might take a couple tries. Let the wall behind you support you as you try to stabilize and balance on your own. Keep your legs and are engaged as you attempt to move your legs away from the wall.
Don’t worry if you fall. That is part of the journey.
I’ve shared a photo of me falling out of Pincha Mayurasana. It is a pose that I did often and easily as a child but now I fall out of it a lot. I still love the pose and I still get the benefits of the pose even when I try and don’t land it perfectly. When we care too much about perfecting our poses, that is ego-driven and yoga is about letting go of that. In this carefree month of July, I encourage you to let go of the need to perfect this or any other pose.
Play around with getting your body into new or challenging poses instead of believing or saying or you cannot do them. Maybe you can’t, but that is okay. Yoga classes would be boring if teachers only served up poses everyone had mastered already. Summer is a time of fun. Take a break from the serious structure. Fall, fail, smile, laugh, breathe and try again.