Makarasana: Meaning, Steps, Benefits

Makarasana: Meaning, Steps, Benefits

Introduction

Makarasana is a restorative yoga pose meant for the relaxation of mind and body. It is a basic level pose. This is a simple posture yet gives many benefits.

The medieval Hatha Yoga text Gheranda Samhita describes this posture.

Let us have look at the basic information, its meaning, steps, and the benefits.

Makarasana Information

Pose NameMakarasana
Sanskritमकरासन
IASTmakarāsana
English NameCrocodile Pose
OriginMedieval
Gheranda Samhita
LevelBasic
GroupBhujangasana Group
Relaxation Group
TypeLying Prone

Makarasana Meaning

By vijjuk ( Vijay Kumar) - https://www.flickr.com/photos/vijjuk/2497282250/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12753860
Makara in Chennakeswar Temple, Belur

The Sanskrit word Makara means a sea dragon or a water monster. In Hindi, Magar means a crocodile. The posture was translated into English as Crocodile Pose considering the Hindi word. But originally the posture was not named after the Crocodile.

In Hindu Mythology, Makara actually means a fish-like sea creature having the head of an elephant. Besides this, it sometimes means an elephant with a crocodile head. It is the vehicle of the river Goddess Ganges, river Goddess Narmada and Water God Varuna.

But the story of Hanuman and Crocodile found in Ramayana has nothing in common with this posture.

Makarasana Practice Routine

The crocodile practice routine includes precautions, step by step procedure, and duration. As the difficulty level of this posture is very low, there is no necessity for tips.

Safety and Precautions

This posture is very easy to perform and there is no risk involved in practice. However, this posture is not for pregnant ladies. They should avoid this posture.

Makarasana Steps

Step 1

Firstly, Lie on your stomach.

Step 2

Secondly, raise your head and shoulders. Hold your chin with your palms of the hands on both sides and your elbows should be on the floor with little gap in between them. The gap may be widened or shortened according to your comfort level. There should be any discomfort either on your spine or neck.

Step 3

Thirdly, close your eyes. Breathe as slowly as possible or go for abdominal breathing. Keep this position as long as you are feeling comfortable.

Step 4

Lastly, open your eyes. Release the position.

Duration

If Crocodile Pose is performed as a resting practice in between two postures, the duration may be for a period of two to three minutes. When performed after an Asana session, the period may be between five and fifteen minutes. However, one may extend this pose for a period up to 30 minutes.

Makarasana Variations

The following are the two other versions of Crocodile Pose.

Instead of holding the chin with the palms of the hand, palms are placed on the floor bending elbows against each other. After that, one should place the head on the hands.

Instead of placing lower legs on the floor, they are lifted a little upward. Besides this, head and shoulder are also raised. After that, the palms of the hands are clasped and put on backside of the head.

Follow Up Poses

During the Crocodile posture, your spine bends a little back. To counter this, a two minute session of Corpse Pose is enough.

Advanced Pose Considerations

As soon as one gets mastery over Crocodile Pose, he may consider Cobra Pose as an advanced practice.

Makarasana Benefits

The practice of Crocodile pose renders the following benefits.

Resting and Rejuvenating

The Crocodile Pose serves as an resting and rejuvenating posture after a posture session or in between two postures.

Deep Relaxation

The Crocodile Pose provides relaxation and put the practitioner into a deep meditative state of mind.

Activates Parasympathetic Nervous System

The practice of the posture for longer periods activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System. As a result, one can decrease anxiety and related diseases stress, depression, etc.

Helps Multiple Health Conditions

The practice of this posture improves health conditions like Hypertension, Cardiovascular Diseases, Type II Diabetes, and Asthma.

Improves the functions of Internal Organs

As a result of the practice, the functions of internal organs like kidney, liver, heart, lungs, etc. improve.

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