Makarasana

Common Title Makarasana
English Title Crocodile Pose
Sanskrit Title Makarasana, Nakarasana
All Titles Crocodile Pose, Makarasana, Nakarasana,
Pose Level Beginner
Pose Position Prone
Pose Type Restorative,
Sanskrit Pronunciation Play Audio
Tags

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Yoga Sequences

List of yoga sequences with Makarasana:

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‘Makara’, means ‘Crocodile’ in Sanskrit, and here the body is compared to a crocodile where the face and the neck is up and above the water. Here in this pose, one lies down on the tummy face down, spreading the legs out as much as possible and bringing the hands folded at the elbows and placed below the forehead for support. Unlike Savasana, Makarasana is considered as the only relaxation pose in which it is not possible to fall asleep due to the upright position of the neck and the head. Makarasana is considered a restorative pose, where technically the heart rate is reduced with the relaxation of the entire muscular system and with the calming of the mind. The minor difference between the two poses (Makarasana and Advasana) in terms of posture, is, in Advasana, the arms are stretched overhead bringing the entire face to the floor. Hence in Advasana, the movement of the chest is restricted a bit causing breathing to be a bit more challenging than compared to the posture in Makarasana where the chest is raised a bit making diaphragmatic breathing easier. As Makarasana is a relaxation pose, it is normally done after an intense yoga sequence involving poses like Ustrasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Shalabasana, etc,.

Makarasana is considered a base pose as makarasana variations can be derived from this pose. Makarasana helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Chakras

Makarasana helps open, activate, and balance the following chakra(s):
  • Sacral Chakra (Swadisthana Chakra)
  • Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra)

Anatomy

Makarasana benefits the following muscles and hence can be included in yoga sequences with the corresponding muscle(s) focus:

Makarasana yoga sequences

Makarasana is commonly found in the following types of yoga sequences:
  • Gentle yoga sequences
  • Restorative yoga sequences
  • Yoga sequences for teenagers

How to do Makarasana

The below cues and yoga sequences added by yoga teachers show multiple ways to do Makarasana depending on the focus of your yoga sequence and the ability of your students.

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  1. From prone position
    Palms one on top of the other, forehead rests on palms (or whatever is comfortable)

    Hold for 1-2 breaths
  2. Wiggle hips from side to side.
  3. Find your steady breath. Feel how your tummy pushes into the mat upon inhaling, and your rises.

    Bring both hands to either side.
    Rest left face on mat and hold.
    Rest right face on mat and hold.
  4. Come down to the belly. Extend the legs behind you so that the tops of the toes rest on the mat. Bend elbows and place forearms underneath forehead, or either cheek. Come back to the breath. Find your steady breath. Feel the belly push towards the mat on the inhale. Feel the back rise towards the sk...
  5. - feet at least shoulder width apart
    - ankles in toes out
    - bolster just below chest or breast line
    - breath into stomach and lower back area
  6. Lie down on your stomach, place palms one on top of each other and rest your cheeks on your palms or whatever is comforatable
    completely relax for 30 seconds in Crocodile pose.
  7. Come down to the belly.
    Extend the legs behind you so that the tops of the toes rest on the mat.
    Cross the arms under the forehead, or either cheek.
    Come back to the breath. Find your steady breath.
    Feel the belly push towards the mat on the inhale.
    Feel the back rise towards the sky on the exh...
  8. bolster under the body, strap around the legs, blanket under the arms, small bolster under the head
  9. OBSERVATION/INSIGHT/BODY/MIND/SOUL/HEART/GUT
  10. CHAKRA EXPLANATION - WHAT THEY ARE, WHEELS, NADIS, 7 MAJOR ONES
    THROAT CHAKRA: COMMUNICATION, EXPRESSION, PHYSICAL HEALTH IN AREAS OF NECK (EARS, NOSE, THROAT, THYROID, ETC), NECK AND SHOULDER FOCUSED ASANAS TO TARGET AREA AND NEARBY NADIS OR OTHERWISE KNOWN AS MERIDIAN LINES IN TRADITIONAL YIN YGO...
  11. Left side:

    Bolster or rolled blanket under lower leg
    Folded blanket under thigh
    Rolled blanket under ankle
  12. Right side:

    Bolster or rolled blanket under lower leg
    Folded blanket under thigh
    Rolled blanket under ankle
  13. From Puppy pose, slide onto your belly. Bring your hands under your face and rest at neutral, observing sensations in the back of your body. Stay for as many breaths as needed.

    Lie down on your stomach, place palms one on top of each other and rest your cheeks on your palms and completely relax f...
  14. Come down to the belly.
    Extend the legs behind you so that the tops of the toes rest on the mat.
    Cross the arms under the forehead, or either cheek.
    Come back to the breath. Find your steady breath.
    Feel the belly push towards the mat on the inhale.
    Feel the back rise towards the sky on the exh...

Discover more cues, teaching ideas, and how to do steps at How to Do Makarasana

Makarasana Benefits

Makarasana Benefits:

Human Anatomy

  • Stimulates the sacrum: The most important benefit one gets with the practice of this pose, Makarasana, is contraction of the muscles around the sacrum. Sacrum is a triangular bone at the base of the spine which sits between the two hip bones. It supports the spine and helps to flex the hips. Stimulating the sacrum, improves the prana flow through the entire spine, removing all blockages.
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs: With the pressure on the belly while in prone position in Makarasana, the gentle deep breathing massages the abdominal area, improving in the functioning of the spleen (lies beneath the left diaphragm), the urinary bladder (close to the pelvic floor), the liver (upper right side below the diaphragm), the pancreas (located behind the stomach), and the intestines.
  • Relaxes the Circulatory and the Respiratory System: With the flow of blood throughout the body with the relaxed muscles, the demand for oxygen is reduced, helping in giving the circulatory and the respiratory system to relax.

General Benefits

  • Improves digestion: With the gentle massage at the abdominal area the stomach digests the food better curing problems related to constipation.
  • Relaxes the muscular system: While the entire muscular system of the body is relaxed in Makarasana, it gives a sense of control over the body and the mind. Brings about calmness with the slowing of the heart pumpi...
Continue reading more on Makarasana Benefits

Makarasana Contraindications

 (Makarasana, Nakarasana) Makarasana Contraindications:

The most important part of the practice of Makarasana is that this pose is more for recovery and relaxing of the muscles and hence practiced between various other postures or purely from the point of therapy. But a few situations should be kept in mind while going into Makarasana, they are:

  • Pregnant women should avoid this pose: The pressure at the abdomen may not be safe and hence women who are deep into their pregnancy should avoid this pose.
  • Someone suffering from problems related to stomach: Stomach disorders which are severe can bring more discomfort with the practice of Makarasan as the abdomen gets pushed towards the floor while breathing, leading to over contraction of the muscles.
  • Avoid if blood pressure is too high: For someone who is new to yoga practice and is suffering from high blood pressure, may find it difficult to follow the instructions related to Makarasana or Crocodile Pose, as the breathing plays an important role. If the breathing is not smooth, pressure builds up causing more pressure with the arteries.

Makarasana Variations

Makarasana Variations: Below are some common variations of the yoga pose Makarasana with base pose as Reverse Corpse Pose (Advasana).

Learn more: Makarasana Variations

Makarasana Steps

 (Makarasana, Nakarasana) Makarasana Steps:
  1. Bring the body to relax after the pose Viparita Karani, and slowly turning to one side take the body into Makarasana facing down on the tummy.
  2. Take the body on the tummy and place the forehead on the arms in front of you and relax the entire body with 6 rounds of breathing.
Learn more: Makarasana Steps

Makarasana Modifications

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Makarasana Preparatory Poses

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Makarasana Relaxing Follow-up Poses

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Makarasana Level Up Follow-up Poses

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Makarasana Yoga Sequences

Makarasana Titles in English and Sanskrit

Many yoga poses have multiple titles because of differences in their Sanskrit to English title translation or a specific title becoming popular because of it's common usage amongst yoga teachers and yoga practitioners. Below are common titles of Makarasana:

  • Crocodile Pose
  • Makarasana
  • Nakarasana

Makarasana Sanskrit

Makarasana sanskrit title is Makarasana, Nakarasana

Please click on the link below to listen to Sanskrit pronunciation of Makarasana:
Sanskrit audio pronunciation for  Makarasana, Nakarasana Play Sanskrit audio pronunciation for Makarasana, Nakarasana

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