Pincha Mayurasana is an inverted arm balancing pose. In this Asana you are resting on the forearms of both arms, which are positioned parallel to the sides of the mat. Hands are palms down flat on the floor with elbows are situated beneath the shoulders and the Drishti is the tip of the nose, face directed towards the thumbs of both hands.
The hips are aligned directly above the shoulders with back straight and erect. Legs also lead upwards strong and erect, feet ideally positioned above hips. Legs will be together and ankles Plantar flexed so toes point to the ceiling. One straight line could be drawn from elbow point to toes, although an arch in the body is also acceptable as long as strength is maintained.
How to enter the pose
To enter in to this Asana it is best to start in a kneeling position on the floor. Bring both forearms to the floor hands touching the opposite elbows and level with the shoulders and the front of the mat. This ensures the elbows are the correct distance apart for optimum balance and stability. Leave elbows where they are and release hands so they lead directly in front of each elbow, parallel to the sides of the mat.
Without moving the arms come up on the balls of the feet, in to Downward Dog position on forearms. Use this pose to prepare the shoulders and bandha the abdomen. Look towards the thumbs at this point to Walk the feet carefully towards the face; maintain back, abdomen and shoulder position and strength. When the hips come above the shoulders the feet will be able to come off the floor. Raise one straight leg up from here; use this momentum to lift the second leg up swiftly after. The wider apart the legs split is, the harder it will be to come upright. If the kick up is too swift the momentum may cause the pose to fall over.
Use control to maintain a taught torso to help lift the legs up and regulate the balance between arms, torso and hips. The Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius when contracted will control the legs.
The Infraspinatus and Trapezius are essential to keep the shoulders in a strong position and protect the neck and spine. The Deltoids hold the arms firm, with the biceps concentrically contracted and triceps eccentrically contracting.
If an individual is weak in the shoulder girdle and upper arms they will have difficulty maintaining this pose for extended periods safely.
If the individual is weak in the abdomen muscles, for example transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, serratus anterior and latissimus dorsi, then holding the torso and hips erect above the shoulders will be difficult. The weakness in this area will also make it harder for the individual to rise up in to this asana.
If the Drishti is not centred and focused towards the thumbs concentration is difficult to maintain, and so confidence can be easily jeopardised.
If success is reached in achieving this pose, the legs can be bent down behind back, toes pointed towards the floor. Ardha Vrschikasana, as shown.
If this variation is satisfying you may also try folding legs in to lotus position, back and legs on a 90 degree angle to the floor.
If you need to build strength and balance you can also practice with your hands a foot away from the wall. The aim is to bring your body up without the assistance of the wall, but using the feet to locate the wall for an idea of the body’s position is also advised in the beginning.
As this becomes okay you may even want to move hands closer to rest buttocks and full legs against wall to grow stronger in the arms and shoulders.