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Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose): Meaning, How to Do, and Variation

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Hey there, fellow yoga enthusiasts! Today, we're diving into the captivating world of Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, better known as the Dolphin Pose. This beautiful asana combines strength, flexibility, and balance, allowing you to channel your inner dolphin and gracefully navigate the waves of life. So, let's embark on this journey together as we explore the meaning, benefits, variations, and more, all while keeping our tone light-hearted and inspirational.

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose)

Imagine the elegance and playfulness of a dolphin gracefully gliding through the water. Ardha Pincha Mayurasana embodies this spirit as it mimics the shape and fluidity of a dolphin's movements. Derived from Sanskrit, "Ardha" means "half," "Pincha" means "feather," and "Mayura" means "peacock." This pose, often referred to as the Dolphin Pose perfectly captures the essence of both animals.

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana symbolizes a harmonious blend of strength and grace. It invites us to cultivate a sense of playfulness, freedom, and interconnectedness with our surroundings. Just as dolphins embrace life's challenges with enthusiasm and adaptability, this pose teaches us to navigate the ups and downs of our own journeys with resilience and joy.

Let's take a closer look at the key muscles and areas of the body engaged in Ardha Pincha Mayurasana. This understanding will help us make the most of this beautiful pose.

  1. Shoulders and Arms: The shoulder girdle and upper arms provide the foundation for this pose, engaging the deltoids, triceps, and biceps.

  2. Core Muscles: The deep core muscles, including the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis, stabilize the body and help maintain balance.

  3. Spine and Legs: The spine is lengthened and strengthened, while the hamstrings and calves are gently stretched.

How to Perform Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

Let's dive into the steps and instructions to perform Ardha Pincha Mayurasana with grace and confidence.

  1. Begin by coming onto your hands and knees, aligning your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

  2. Lower your forearms to the floor, keeping them parallel to each other and shoulder-width apart. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders.

  3. Tuck your toes under, lift your knees off the ground, and straighten your legs as much as possible without straining.

  4. Engage your core muscles and lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling, forming an inverted "V" shape.

  5. Press your forearms actively into the mat, grounding down through your palms and fingers.

  6. Lengthen your spine by reaching your tailbone toward the ceiling while allowing your heels to descend toward the floor.

  7. Relax your head and neck, keeping your gaze between your forearms or toward your feet.

  8. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable.

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose)

When to Perform Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana can be practiced at any time of the day. However, it is particularly beneficial in the morning as it energizes the body, enhances focus, and prepares you for the day ahead. It can also be a soothing practice in the evening, helping to release tension and unwind from the stresses of the day.

Preparatory Poses

To make the most of your Dolphin Pose, consider integrating these preparatory poses into your practice:

  1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose): This pose helps lengthen the spine and warm up the shoulders, wrists, and hamstrings.

  2. Balasana (Child's Pose): Relaxing in Child's Pose before Dolphin Pose helps to calm the mind and gently stretch the spine.

Follow-Up Poses

After experiencing the magic of Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, consider incorporating these complementary poses into your sequence:

  1. Sirsasana (Headstand): Dolphin Pose serves as a preparatory pose for Headstand, as it strengthens the arms, shoulders, and core, cultivating the necessary stability and balance.

  2. Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand): This pose further strengthens the shoulders and provides an inversion experience that rejuvenates the body and mind.


Ardha Pincha Mayurasana stimulates and balances the Manipura Chakra, also known as the Solar Plexus Chakra. Located around the navel, this energy center governs confidence, self-esteem, and personal power. By engaging the core and activating the Solar Plexus Chakra, Dolphin Pose helps us tap into our inner strength and radiate positivity.

Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra)


While practicing Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, you may choose to chant the following mantra to enhance your experience:

"Om Namo Narayanaya" This mantra honors the divine energy within us, promoting inner peace, harmony, and self-awareness.

Alignment Cues

To align your body optimally and derive the maximum benefits from this pose, keep the following cues in mind:

  1. Maintain a neutral spine, avoiding excessive rounding or arching.

  2. Draw your shoulder blades away from your ears, creating space and stability in the upper body.

  3. Press evenly through your forearms and palms to distribute the weight and engage the muscles of the arms and shoulders.

  4. Keep your neck relaxed and gaze soft, allowing your head to hang naturally.

Duration of Hold

As a beginner, aim to hold Ardha Pincha Mayurasana for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Over time, gradually increase the duration to 2-3 minutes as you build strength and comfort in the pose.

Drishti: The recommended drishti, or focal point, for Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, is toward your feet or between your forearms. Focusing your gaze on a specific point helps to enhance concentration and balance.

Physical & Spiritual Awareness

While practicing Dolphin Pose, cultivate awareness of both the physical and spiritual aspects of the pose. Pay attention to the sensations in your body, the quality of your breath, and the thoughts that arise. Allow the pose to become a moving meditation, where you can connect with your inner self and embrace the present moment.

Beginners' Tips

If you're new to Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, here are some helpful tips to enhance your practice:

  1. Warm up your body with gentle stretches and dynamic movements before attempting this pose to avoid strain.

  2. Place a folded blanket or yoga mat under your forearms for extra cushioning and support.

  3. If your hamstrings feel tight, keep a gentle bend in your knees or position your feet slightly wider apart.

  4. Be patient with yourself. It takes time to build strength and flexibility. Listen to your body and honor its limits.

Who Should Not Do It

While Ardha Pincha Mayurasana offers numerous benefits, there are some situations in which you should avoid this pose:

  1. If you have recent or chronic shoulder, neck, or back injuries, consult with a healthcare professional or an experienced yoga teacher before attempting this pose.

  2. Pregnant individuals should practice with caution and seek guidance from a prenatal yoga instructor.

Who Should Do It

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana can be practiced by individuals of various fitness levels. It is particularly beneficial for:

  1. Those looking to strengthen the upper body, including the arms, shoulders, and core muscles.

  2. Individuals seeking to improve posture and increase spinal flexibility.

  3. Yogis who wish to explore inversions but are not yet ready for full headstands.

Benefits of Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

The Dolphin Pose offers a wide array of physical, mental, and emotional benefits:

  1. Strengthens the shoulders, arms, and core muscles.

  2. Increases flexibility in the hamstrings and calves.

  3. Improves posture and spinal alignment.

  4. Enhances concentration, focus, and mental clarity.

  5. Relieves stress, anxiety, and mild depression.

  6. Stimulates digestion and improves overall digestion.

  7. Cultivates a sense of playfulness, lightness, and adaptability.

Variations of Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

To add variety and challenge to your practice, consider exploring these variations of Dolphin Pose:

Ek Pada Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (One-Legged Dolphin Pose)

The One-Legged Dolphin Pose, Ek Pada Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, is a delightful variation of the Dolphin Pose that adds an extra element of challenge and balance. By lifting one leg off the ground, we invite strength, focus, and grace into our practice, reminding us of the beauty of finding stability amidst movement.

Ek Pada Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (One-Legged Dolphin Pose)

How to Perform Ek Pada Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

  1. Begin in Dolphin Pose, with your forearms resting on the mat and your shoulders directly above your wrists.

  2. Root down through your forearms and engage your core.

  3. Shift your weight onto your dominant leg and slowly lift your non-dominant leg off the ground.

  4. Flex your lifted foot and extend your leg behind you, keeping it parallel to the floor.

  5. Engage your core and find your balance, making sure your hips remain level.

  6. Maintain a steady breath and gaze forward, finding a focal point to help with your stability.

  7. Hold the pose for a few breaths, enjoying the strength and balance that it brings.

  8. To release, gently lower your lifted leg back to the ground and return to Dolphin Pose.

  9. Repeat the pose on the other side, lifting the opposite leg.

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose)

The Dolphin Plank Pose, Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana, combines the strength of the Plank Pose with the fluidity and grace of the Dolphin Pose. This powerful posture engages the core, tones the muscles, and builds stability, reminding us of the resilience and determination within us.

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank Pose)

How to Perform Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

  1. Start in Dolphin Pose, with your forearms resting on the mat and your shoulders directly above your wrists.

  2. Engage your core, ensuring your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels.

  3. Shift your weight forward, bringing your shoulders directly above your wrists, similar to the alignment of the Plank Pose.

  4. Keep your forearms pressing firmly into the mat, activating the muscles of your arms and shoulders.

  5. Engage your core even more, drawing your navel toward your spine.

  6. Lengthen through your tailbone, maintaining a neutral spine.

  7. Gaze slightly forward, keeping your neck in line with your spine.

  8. Breathe deeply and hold the pose, feeling the strength and stability radiating through your entire body.

  9. To release, gently lower your knees to the ground and return to Dolphin Pose or rest in Child's Pose.

Modifications for Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

If you're still building strength or flexibility, don't worry—modifications are here to support you:

  1. Use a wall: Practice with your forearms against a wall to provide support and stability as you gradually build strength.

  2. Use props: Place a yoga block under your head or forearms to reduce the intensity of the stretch and create a more accessible variation.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes to ensure a safe and effective practice of Ardha Pincha Mayurasana:

  1. Overarching or rounding the back: Maintain a neutral spine to avoid strain on the lower back.

  2. Collapsing the shoulders: Engage your shoulder blades and press firmly into the forearms to prevent collapsing in the upper body.

  3. Holding the breath: Remember to breathe deeply and continuously throughout the pose to maintain a steady flow of energy.

Safety and Precautions

To practice Ardha Pincha Mayurasana safely, keep the following precautions in mind:

  1. If you have any existing injuries or medical conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before attempting this pose.

  2. Listen to your body and honor its limits. Avoid pushing beyond your comfort zone or experiencing pain.

Additional Preparation Tips

Direction to Face: While practicing Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, face the long edge of your yoga mat. This alignment allows for better stability and balance.

What to Wear: Opt for comfortable, form-fitting clothing that allows you to move freely without hindrance. Avoid loose or baggy clothes that may interfere with your alignment.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance: Choose a quiet and clean space for your practice. Consider diffusing essential oils such as lavender or sandalwood, or lighting a scented candle to create a soothing and serene ambiance.

Music for this Pose: To enhance your experience, play soft instrumental or ambient music that helps you connect with your breath and flow with the rhythm of your movements.

Congratulations, dear yogis! You've successfully dived into the mystical realm of Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, embodying the grace, strength, and playfulness of the majestic dolphin. As you continue to explore this pose, remember to approach it with patience, self-compassion, and a willingness to embrace both the physical and spiritual aspects of your practice. Allow the Dolphin Pose to guide you on a transformative journey of self-discovery, where you can tap into your inner power and ride the waves of life with joy and resilience. Keep practicing, and may the dolphin within you continue to inspire and uplift your spirit.

Happy yoga-ing, everyone! Namaste! Read More: Orange Aura Meaning: Exploring its Symbolism and Significance If you have found this information valuable, make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletters. Stay updated and never miss out on anything while you continue your journey toward optimal health and holistic living.


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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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