Pose Directory > STANDING

Swan pose




Begin in cow/cat pose (Marjaryasana). Bring the knees apart and the feet together. Push the chest forward and turn the hands so the fingers point towards the body. Bring the wrists towards each other and bend the elbows. Rest the abdomen on top of the elbows and upper arms. Straighten the legs one and at a time, placing the tops of the toes or balls of the feet on the floor. Lengthen the neck keeping the eye gaze straight ahead. To come out of the pose, bend the knees and return to the start position. Beginners may hold the pose for 1-5 breathes and repeat three times.



The mechanics of the balance work something like a seesaw. So your students might visualise their bodies as two parts of the seesaw with the body as the board and the elbows like the pivot in the middle. The tops of the toes on the floor support the body/board and keep it stable. The action of moving the upper chest and sternum forward over the hands creates more space for manoeuvering the elbows underneath the ribcage and into the centre point of the body/board for balancing.


Kneeling on the floor as for cat/cow, bring the feet together and knees apart. When turning the wrists to point away from the body, bring the upper arms around the breasts or pectorals. As the legs are extended behind – keep moving the upper chest forward- so the elbows are at the centre point between torso and legs. The head, torso, hips and legs should be horizontal. The weight of the body is evenly distributed between the upper arms and tops of the toes.

  • Massages the abdomen and internal organs
  • Stimulates metabolism and digestive system
  • Develops balance and muscular control
  • Improves strength and flexibility of hands and wrists
  • Tones hips and legs
  • Strengthens neck and shoulders
  • Pain in the wrists (keep knees on the ground)
  • Collapsing wrists or arms (place blocks under shoulders or hips or keep knees on ground)
  • Elbows pressed into breasts or ribs (move upper chest forward and bring around and then under ribcage into fleshy part of abdomen)
  • Sinking hips or belly (stretch out through legs)
  • Head on ground (lift upper chest and/or drop to knees)
  • Ulcer
  • Hernia
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Keep knees bent and on the floor
  • Place blocks under shoulders or hips to help stabilise the body
  • Practice with heels of feet pressed against the wall
  • Mayurasana (peacock pose is an advanced version of swan) where the feet are lifted off the ground bringing the legs horizontal
  • ½  peacock (Lift one leg horizontal – keep the other foot grounded)
  • Padma Mayurasana (lotus peacock) For this very challenging variation, the legs are brought into full lotus and lifted off the floor.
  • Heroes pose (Vajrasana)
  • Child pose (Balasana)
  • Cobra (Bujangasana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist in Oxford, England. More information about Brenda can be found at www.pret-a-yoga.com


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