Crocodile Pose (Makarasana) in Yoga

The Crocodile Pose (Makarasana) is a beginner-level restorative yoga pose that is a part of the Padma Sadhana sequence. This pose helps relax your body and relieve pain induced from other yoga poses and daily activities.

The crocodile pose helps relax the nervous system and relieves tension in the lower back. Although it’s generally performed at the end of a session or sequence, it can also be used in between back-strengthening poses.

Makarasana derives its name from the Sanskrit words Makara, meaning crocodile, and asana, meaning pose.

Makarasana or Crocodile Pose: Technique and Correct Form

The crocodile pose can be performed on any soft surface like a carpeted floor, yoga mat, towel or any other comfortable surface. It does not require any equipment.

Here is how you can perform the Makarasana in proper form:

  • Start by assuming the Thunderbolt Pose or Vajrasana (sitting on your knees). Touch the yoga mat in front of you by extending your arms. Next, extend your legs behind you such that the balls of your feet touch the yoga mat.
  • Gently lower yourself to the ground, beginning with your legs such that the top of your feet are on the ground.
  • Next, lower your hips, midriff, chest and shoulders to the mat. Your body will be facing downwards with your elbows tucked in at your sides, palms facing down.

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  • Move your hands to the front of the mat, and slowly cross your arms in front of you so that you have a support to rest your forehead on.
  • You may bring your arms to your side so that you can press your forehead to the ground, which is optional. Your toes should be on the mat so that you are stretching the legs and straightening the spine.
  • For a better stretch for your lower back, lift your upper body, similar to the way you would in the Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana). That helps to open your chest and release the tension in your shoulders and back. It will also give you greater flexibility in your lower back.
  • You can release the pose by returning to your starting position.

Benefits of Crocodile Pose or Makarasana

Raising your head, chest and shoulders helps relieve your lower back (Image from Flickr @Yoga Guru Suneel Singh)Makarasana is a great asana for those suffering from lower back ache or spine issues (Image from Pexels @Karolina Grabowska)The Makarasana is a good posture for those having hunched back or bad posture (Image from Pexels @Andrea Piacquadio)

2) You need to avoid getting into the plank position. In the plank, both the lower body and upper body are raised and pushing away from the ground.

The Makarasana needs you to press your lower body into the mat. Beginners might lose their balance and fall to the ground if they enter the plank position in the Makarasana pose.

3) While lowering your body to find a comfortable position for your arms and hands, carefully rotate your shoulder blades, else you could end up with a shoulder injury.

You can choose to lower your head to the ground with your arms beside you or lift up on your arms. However, you need to control the motions of your arms so that the movements are seamless.

4) Entering the Makarasana too quickly can cause greater strain in your back instead of alleviating the tension there.

Be in control of your upper body while lifting it. That will help increase the flexibility in your lower back while safeguarding you from back-related injuries.

Q. How often do you perform the Makarasana?

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