The peacock is known for serenity and regality, fierce strength, fearlessness, and brightness (just a few of the qualities I want to cultivate in 2018). One of the reasons I love Hindu mythology is that the dieties aren’t strictly worshipped, they represent certain qualities that you want to cultivate yourself, which is the purpose of devotional practices. You can do this with yoga poses, too. Especially in the case of arm balances, the WHY is much more important than the HOW, and perhaps the story of Mayurasana will help you find some lightness in yourself.
In Hindu mythology, the peacock was chosen by Kartikeya, the warrior son of Shiva, to be his steed. Kartikeya was a fearless warrior, who led the gods into battle against a very powerful demon at the age of 7 months old. I get how silly that story sounds. The point is, peacocks are so epically fierce and regal that Kartikeya, one of the all time great warriors (I mean, if he was that great at 7 months…) chose one to accompany him in battle.
There are two postures for the peacock. Mayurasana is peacock pose, a super challenging arm balance. In this pose, we work to embody incredible strength and fearlessness to find lightness and balance effortlessly (if you’ve ever tried peacock pose, you can imagine the long road to feeling effortless). Pincha mayurasana is forearm stand, or peacock feather. Fearlessness again, lightness, and brightness in the activation of your legs and feet. Both of these poses really utilize two extraordinarily important things: drishti-single point of focus and bandhas-really intense low core strength and activation. Both postures require intense concentration, devotion to the practice (this is a big one, these aren’t postures that you can come into full expression on your first shot), and very sturdy activation of the bandhas (mula bandha-root energy lock/pelvic floor lift to unleash deep seated strength, uddiyana bandha belly button back and up towards the ribs to give lightness). In both postures, use your strength to push up and away from the floor rather than sinking heavily towards it.
The peacock is not just fierce and regal. They are the only enemy of the cobra, as they can digest the snake’s venom safely. Mayurasana, peacock pose, is very stimulatory to the digestive system and is often used to relieve digestive problems. Interesting parallel, it’s also a pose where, in order to come in then find the lightness and brightness you’re hoping for, you’ve got to “digest” the negativity that comes up in your mind (doubt, fear, worry, insecurity) when you attempt the pose, and turn it into something beautiful and free.