The Peacock's Tale (Tail)

What does the peacock symbolise and what can we learn from the peacock in our asana and life?

The peacock (called mayura in sanscrit) is associated with many deities (gods) of the East, but it has also been used as a symbol in the Western World. Starting in the East, the peacock is said to be the symbol of Saraswati, (the Indian goddess of wisdom, music and poetry) and Lakshmi, (the goddess of wealth and abundance) is sometimes pictured riding on a peacock. Lord Krishna wears the feather of the peacock on his head perhaps because it symbolises the 3rd eye in the middle of the forehead which opens in man to the vision of eternity.  Therefore in the East this beautiful bird came to represent royalty, majesty, wisdom, music, poetry, wealth, pride and vanity.

In the West, the peacock was originally found in Pagan art and later on in Christian art where it symbolised the resurrection, the beauty of the soul and the many graces that are bestowed in the sacrament. Apparently the peacock was the only bird that did not eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and was rewarded (according to Jewish legend) with eternal life. Just like the phoenix becoming a symbol of rebirth, resurrection and a vision of eternity.

Pincha Mayurasana (Feather of Peacock Pose) is a difficult pose for many people and quite often fear and/or pride can interfere with practicing this pose with ease. We can be fearful of falling flat on our face, or in showing our weakness to others as we try to find the strength to balance on one's forearms.

So what can we learn from the peacock to help us bring ease to this asana? According to Hatha Yoga, The Hidden Language:

1. The spread of the tail of the peacock holds out a promise.

2. The peacock stays on the ground, rather than flying, it represents the earth with all its colourful temptations.

3. The phoenix rising out of its own ashes is a symbol of the resurrection of which everyone is capable.

I like to imagine the peacock light-heartedly dancing with his tail fanned oblivious to anything else going on around him as he brings all his awareness to his desire. So, strut yourself playfully like the peacock and focus on your desire to feel as light and serene as a feather as you let go of any fear, doubt and attachment to perfection and let your unique beauty shine!

Quotes

  • “As beginners our intellect is only in the brain. You must have a million eyes, all over the body.” ~ B. K. S. Iyengar.
     
  • “There is no one path for us to follow - So let us take the outrageous road. Let us free our most colourful thoughts and run boldly. Let us follow our playful hearts and let us see our own true spirit in its stunning beauty.” ~ Unknown.
     
  • "Like a peacock, your beauty if multiplied when you spread your wings and show the world your stuff! Don’t be afraid to be who you are. Each peacock feather is flawed imperfect but collectively they create something of great beauty. Your flaws are what make you perfect!” ~ Unknown.
     

Article by Martine Ford

Profile photo of Martine Ford of Spirit Yoga, Port Macquarie, Australia

Martine is a qualified yoga instructor and owner of Spirit Yoga in Port Macquarie, Australia. She moved back home to start anew and spread the joys and benefits of yoga to this coastal town. She doesn't pretend to have everything worked out perfectly, and openly shares any mishaps and insights she may have along the way.  Just like a mature hen she is about to experience all that an 'empty nest' entails.  

A former professional dancer, she has an extensive background in ballet, contemporary, character, jazz and yoga studies. Martine trained in Power Yoga to Advanced level with Duncan Peak in the Baron Baptiste style of Power Yoga. She also has certification in Yin Yoga (Jo Phee), Kids Yoga, Pre and Post Natal Yoga and has a Diploma in Dance.

Her series of e-Books, Yoga for the Seasons & The Spirit Yoga Health Series are available on Amazon.
 
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