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
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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,.

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. sandbag on sacrum pressure on feet release shoulders ...
  2. Take a couple of breaths to rest and feel the breath. ...
  3. Rest with arms either by your side or making a pillow with the hands. ...
  4. Lay down on your belly, let your head rest on your arms. ...
  5. Release your legs and come back to the ground. ...
  6. Lie down on the tummy and rest the head down. With support of both elbows, lift the chest up and insert a half inflated slo-mo ball under between sol... ...
  7. Remove the slo-mo ball from the chest, and rest the head down and take a few breaths. ...
  8. Lay on your stomach, stack your hands on top of each other and rest your forehead on your hands, put your big toes together and your heels apart. Brea... ...
  9. Counter stretch to release any back tension. Great for women's issues such as menstrual cramps. Bolster across middle of mat. Kneel at the bolster,... ...
  10. Take a few breaths here to reset. ...
  11. Bend the legs and windshield wiper them from side to side Keep both legs bent, find stillness. Completely relax the left thigh, while gently li... ...
  12. release forehead to stacked hands ...
  13. 8 deep breaths that fill the belly, chest and throat. Check in with your body here. Thank yourself for your practice today. ...
  14. You can either rest your head onto your stacked hands, stacked forearms or rest on your cheek with arms down beside you (if you choose to rest your ch... ...

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...
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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

Please click on the link below to listen to Sanskrit pronunciation of Makarasana:

Play Sanskrit Audio File.

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