Like most traditional disciplines, there’s no shortcut to success with yoga, even as the world celebrates International Day of Yoga. Perfecting any pose—especially ones that defy gravity—takes practice and patience. If your ultimate aim is to do a successful headstand without falling on your face, you’ll first need to go through a series of basic and intermediate poses that increases your flexibility and sense of balance, strengthens your cores, and gives you the confidence to take on more challenging asanas.
The Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, more commonly known as Dolphin Pose, is one such intermediate routine that gets you closer to advanced poses. That, however, is not its only claim to fame. When practiced right, the Dolphin Pose can help relieve stress, mild bouts of depression, while also giving your arms and legs a good stretch. It is known to be therapeutic for people with high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, and sciatica, as well as relieve symptoms of menopause.
- Begin by getting on your hands and knees. Place your forearms on the floor parallel to each other, palms down. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, knees right under your hips. Actively press your hands and forearms into the floor.
- Next, curl your toes under then straighten your legs as if coming into Downward Dog Pose. Lift your sitting bones up toward the sky as you lengthen your spine through the tailbone. Extend down through your heels and keep your shoulder blades firmed against your back.
- Don’t touch your head to the floor, which will tempt you to rest your weight on it. But don’t let it hang free either. Instead, hold your head between your upper arms.
- Breathe deep and hold the pose for 3-8 breaths, then release your knees back to the floor.
- If your legs are straight but your back is arching, it’s better to keep the knees bent slightly but maintain the extension in your spine.
- You can open your shoulders further by lifting your elbows on a rolled-up mat and pressing your inner wrists firmly to the floor.
You can deepen the Dolphin Pose by adding a plank variation to it. To do this, get into the final step of the pose. Then, slow walk your feet back until your shoulders are directly over the elbows and your upper body is parallel to the floor. As you hold the pose, try and push the front of your thighs upwards and extend your tailbone towards your heels. Make sure that your neck and spine maintain a line and remain active as you look down at the floor. To end the pose, release your knees as you exhale.
- Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and arches
- Strengthens the arms and legs, and core
- Helps prevent osteoporosis
- Improves digestion
- Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue