http://www.jivamuktiyoga.com/asana/p_mayur.html I was with someone that I have an eternal bond with. We are the same blod type. He started to do part of this yoga pose. I said I want to try that and was able to complete this fully, had never done that before. He could not do this but I was able to do it only once, and tried again and can not now. I feel that was a special moment, this pose is harder than the back bend, and I have not been trained. We did this together, do you think that had anything to do with my motivation? I was dying to know what it meant to do this after he said it was enlightenment, but this morning I had to look it up online, but I can't tell. What does it mean if I can't do it now? My interview is tomorrow at the UW Medical Center, wish me luck. "Peacock Feather" Essay by Emily Cass McDonnell There is a Japanese word, sat, a theater director once described the meaning of this word to me as the moment right before a performer walks on stage when the heart is racing with the knowledge that anything could happen, the moment right before creation, the moment of crisis. This is very close to the Sanskrit word Satya meaning truth. It is this moment of crisis, this moment of truth that we have the opportunity to confront our fear and to feel the most alive. There is a moment of sat every time I exhale right before I inhale my leg above my head for Pincha Mayurasana. I remember the first time I came to balance in this pose. It was mantra month a year ago at Jivamukti. I had been struggling to find my balance away from the wall, but every time I kicked my legs up I would feel fear, to avoid this fear I would hold my breath and hope for the best only to fond myself landing heavily on the floor. In the moment of crisis I lost consciousness. On this particular day I was concentrating on inhaling Om Namah and exhaling Shiva when my teacher instructed me to place my forearms on the floor and kick my legs overhead and come to balance. Well, at the moment of crisis I was so focused on my mantras that it overshadowed my fear. I found that as I exhaled Shiva my legs remained balanced over my head. Pincha Mayurasana is an inversion in which we often experience fear by tuning our perspective upside-down and going into the unknown. What is most interesting about inversions is the opportunity at the sat moment, making the choice to look at fear straight in the face, making the choice to stay present, and making the choice to go into the intensity of life. Pincha Mayurasana translates as peacock feather pose. The peacock is the emblem of the Indian Goddess of the Arts, Saraswati. Like the goddess, the peacock is both beautiful and fierce. Most of the time the peacock walks with his beautiful fan of feathers dragging behind him on the ground. At the time the rainy season approaches or when enticing his mate with his attractiveness he lifts his splendid crown of feathers. The yogi's intention is to make themselves as attractive to god as possible. Just as the peacock lifts their feathers, the yogi adorns themselves with good intentions and an unconditional loving heart. This pose can be seen as a metaphor for this intention. There is a fierceness and a bravery to the peacock that is needed for the yogi to have an unconditional loving heart. This bravery is cultivated during this pose. The peacock can eat snakes and be unaffected by their poison. This symbolizes the yogi who can live in New York City and with its endless objects of distractions, remain steady and unaffected. The peacock feathers are adorned with "eyes" at the top of each feather. The eyes at the top of the feather remind the yogi that true sight does not come from the eyes but from the heart. While in the Peacock pose we see the world upside down with our eyes and are reminded that true sight comes from within. The Alignment of Pincha Mayurasana When I was able to stay conscious and present while coming into Pincha Mayurasana, only then was I able to really start working on alignment. In this pose the forearms press into the floor. Elbows are right underneath the shoulders. Keeping the elbows in line with the shoulders keeps the chest open. Wrists and hands are in line or slightly further apart than the elbows. The fingers are spread pressing the palms and the roots of the fingers down firmly. The upper arms are rotating outward to lift the shoulders away from the ears and spread the collar bones. The armpits are opening. The shoulder blades are spreading and lifting, moving down the back. The gaze is forward in between the hands. The legs and torso are balanced over the head, heels in line with the top of the head. The thighs are squeezing together in tadasana legs. The tailbone is moving towards the pubic bone lengthening the lower back as the pubic bone moves towards the tailbone lengthening the lower waist. Mula bandha and uddiyana bandha are applied. The lower ribs move into the body, lengthening the front of the body. The asana or seat in this pose is the hands, wrists, and forearms which are pressing evenly into the floor lifting the energy upwards. As the body reaches upwards the prana recirculates in the body stimulating the circulatory system, the glandular system, and cleansing the mind. Not only do the inversions help us to face our fear, they help regulate the chemistry of the mind, alleviating depression and anxiety. Just as upon seeing the peacock with his feathers down but after spending time with him his beauty is revealed, over time the beauty and benefits of this pose are endless. Getting into Pincha Mayurasana A block may be used to keep the forearms grounding down and the shoulders and elbows in line. Place the block against the wall, thumbs in front, first finger alongside. Come into downward facing dog legs with forearms on the floor. Look forward towards the top edge of the block. Step one foot in, bend the knee. The other leg stays straight acting as a lever. On an inhale, kick the leg overhead and let the other leg follow. Come to balance with the heels reaching up the wall, forearms pressing down, shoulders moving away from the floor. Practice balancing in the center of the room away from the wall.