Makarasana is a yoga pose that relaxes your body and helps in reducing the fatigue caused by other yoga poses and strenuous physical activities. In English, it is called the crocodile pose because your body looks like a crocodile with its face and neck above the water.
Literally, makarasana meaning is also ‘crocodile pose’ in Sanskrit. When you lie on your stomach, your shoulders and stomach get relief from stress. You can perform the crocodile pose after doing other poses like Surya Namaskar yoga and yoga nidra.
For doing makarasana, you do not need any special equipment like yoga blocks or yoga blacks. A simple towel is enough to perform crocodile pose yoga. The asana is good for beginners. In fact, it is so easy to perform that it is counted in kids yoga as even children can do it easily.
A soft and plain surface is required to do makarasana yoga pose. Usually, yoga mats are given in yoga classes. If you are doing it at home, you can use a soft towel. A mat or towel is needed to create insulation between you and the earth. If you don’t use it, some part of your body’s energy will be transferred to the earth.
Here is how you can do makarasana pose step by step:
- Crocodile pose yoga is started by getting in the thunderbolt pose or Vajrasna pose. Stretch both your arms towards the mat and try to touch it. Now, extend both your legs slowly towards your back. The balls of your feet should also touch the mat.
- Gradually, lower down your body to the ground. Lower down legs in a way that both your feet touch the ground.
- Now, lower down body parts in this sequence: hips, stomach, chest, and shoulders. Your elbows should be tucked in and your palms should be also be touching the mat along with the rest of your body.
- Bring your hands forward to the front side of the mat. Create a cross with your hands that can act as a resting place for your forehead.
- There is also an optional step in doing the makarasana pose. Place your arms on your side and press your forehead to the mat. Touch your toes on the mat to ensure a good stretching of the legs and straightening of your spine.
- If you want to further challenge your body, you can try to lift your upper body as it is done in Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or the Upward Facing Dog pose. This stretching will help in releasing tension from your shoulder, opening your chest, and giving relief to your back. Furthermore, it helps in improving the flexibility of your body.
- To return to the starting position, you can easily release the pose by lowering down your chest and then neck. To avoid any kind of discomfort to your shoulders, you should also rotate your arms while the body release.
Common Mistakes To Avoid
Although makarasana is very easy to do, you can still do some makarasana steps in a wrong way that can lead to a risk of injury. So, here are some common mistakes you should try to avoid while doing makarasana steps:
- Do not hurry while lifting: The main benefit among all the makarasana benefits is the relief provided to your back. However, if you will lift your upper body in a hurry, you can actually harm your back. Doing this in a quick manner can cause tensions in your upper. Doing it slowly can actually improve your flexibility and even reduce any kind of back pain.
- Do not pressurize your neck: If you do the optional lift of your upper body (5th step mentioned above), it is very tempting to look at the ceiling or the sky. But you should not look upward. Instead, you have to fix your gaze forward. If you do the makarasana pose for a long period of time, you should look downwards. Looking upward can put pressure on your neck and that will eventually strain your neck.
- Do not try the plank position at the start: The plank position is somewhat similar to makarasana yoga. You lift your upper body in the makarasana pose, while you have to lift both upper and lower body in the plank position. If a beginner tries to enter the plank position from the makarasana pose, there is a high chance of losing balance and falling on the ground. So, a beginner should always try to first master the makarasana pose and then try to do something else with it.
- Rotate shoulder blades carefully: When you lower down your body to touch the mat and get your arms and hands in a comfortable position, you might cause an injury if you rotate shoulder blades quickly. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are moving your arms and should blades very carefully when your upper body is touching the ground in the makarasana pose.
If you do it on a regular basis, you will experience a number of makarasana benefits to different body parts. The longer you hold the pose, the more makarasana benefits your will experience. In the modern lifestyle, we do a number of activities daily that hurt our back such as sitting on a desk for long hours, or resting on the bed in the wrong position while watching television. All the benefits are felt strongly especially in such a lifestyle.
Here is a list of some benefits that you will experience after doing makarasana:
- Stimulates your sacrum: The contraction of various muscles around the sacrum is one of the most important benefits of this yoga. The sacrum is a bone present near the base of your spine, almost inside your two hip bones. The sacrum actually supports your spine and assist flex your hips. Stimulating your sacrum ultimately helps in removing all the blockages in the spine.
- Improves functioning of abdominal organs: When you lie down on your stomach in the makarasana position and take deep breaths, the breathing massages your abdominal area that eventually helps in the functioning of your different abdominal organs like the spleen, urinary bladder, liver, pancreas, and the intestines. There are only a few yoga poses that can actually help in improving all the abdominal organs at once, makarasana is one among them.
- Relaxes your respiratory and circulatory system: When you relax on your stomach in the makarasana pose, the need for oxygen and blood flow through your body reduces down. This gives a relaxing period to your respiratory and circulatory system.
- Relaxes your spine and back: The natural body posture of human beings puts pressure on our spine and back. Not just while sitting and walking, but even when we are sleeping, there is a little support of our back to our body. But when you lie on your stomach, your spine and back get a small window of relaxation.
Makarasana is undoubtedly one of the easiest yoga poses out there. But its ease of doing doesn’t mean lesser benefits. From circulatory and respiratory systems to back and abdominal organs, it benefits a large part of your body. So, take advantage of this easy yet effective yoga and add it to your daily yoga routine.