Each month for my Patreon community I release two exclusive long-format yoga classes. The community voted this month to have a 60-minute class focused on Dolphin pose. It’s a strong inversion, so let’s do a deep dive into a Dolphin Pose tutorial.
There is so much going on with this pose. Strength, balance, core, and flexibility. We’ll discuss who shouldn’t do the pose, prep poses to nail before attempting dolphin. A step-by-step tutorial, and tips & tricks. Either read on or press play on the video below.
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Who shouldn’t do dolphin?
As I said it’s a strong pose. Core, strength, flexibility, and balance. But, there are people that this pose is NOT suitable for:
- High Blood Pressure
- Shoulder injury
As with any exercise use your own discretion. Listen to your body. Never push through any pain. If something feels wrong, don’t do it. Step back, do less. Work on the preparatory poses and exercises below.
2 Poses to nail before dolphin
Before you even attempt dolphin, I suggest having two poses in your practice. Those are downward dog, and forearm plank. Downward dog gives you the feeling of being inverted, head below the heart, and the length from hip, heart to hands.
Forearm plank is valuable prep for dolphin as you can work on pushing through the forearms. It also tells you a lot about your shoulders. When doing forearm plank do your arms make a square or triangle? This is going to be telling later in how your shoulders move in dolphin.
Dolphin Pose Tutorial
Ok, assuming you have none of the conditions that would prohibit you from Dolphin and you nailed the prep poses, yay, let’s begin the Dolphin pose tutorial! Start on the hands and knees. Walk the hands a little further forward, sitting the hips back a little, bring the forearms to the floor. With the forearms parallel to each other. Draw the navel to the spine engaging the core, push through the forearms and lift the pelvis up. Just like you would for downward facing dog, keeping the alignment line of hips, heart and elbows begin walking the feet towards the elbows.
- How do you feel going upside down?
- Any tension in the shoulders?
- Did the forearm position change as you lifted the hips?
- Can you keep the core engaged?
- Is the head in line with the spine?
- What thoughts occur in the pose?
- Where do you feel strong/weak?
As you notice all these things, holding the pose for a few breaths. Exit the pose the same way you came in. Walk the feet back, drop the knees to the floor. Then either sit into child’s pose, resting the arms, or slowly come to kneeling and stretch the arms behind you. Whatever feels right for your body.
Ardha Pincha Mayurasana tips & tricks
As we connect more with our body in yoga, we notice small differences. In the pose, when you lift the pelvis, do the hands come in narrower than the elbows? Perhaps forming a triangle, like you would for a headstand. Or do you have a square, with the forearms remaining parallel?
Dolphin is a preparatory pose for forearm balances, so we should be focusing on the wider square base of support. If you struggle with this in dolphin, work on the arms being parallel in the forearm plank. Then practice dolphin with a block. You can also use a strap above the elbows.
Optimally we’re looking for a line from the hips, shoulders and elbows. If your shoulders lack sufficient mobility that line will be broken. You can see the difference below. Without overhead shoulder mobility the upper arm, head and chest comes forward, rather than pushing down to lift up.
There is an easy test to see if this is your issue. Grab a chair, then, set yourself up kneeling in front of the chair and bring the elbows on top of the seat. If you can make a line from, elbows to shoulders to hips then you have good shoulder mobility. If the line is broken, then work on the range of movement in your shoulders.
There are always two sides to the coin and while we covered strength and mobility, this pose also needs core. It’s too easy to dump into the lower back. Ensure you draw the navel to the spine. It’s a tiny difference but the pose feels so much more stable when you do this!
So, hopefully, you found some helpful tips and tricks in this dolphin pose tutorial. If you have any questions about dolphin, or other poses, let me know in the comments! I’m always here to assist you in your practice.
Want more dolphin?
If you’re looking for a full 60-minute class all about dolphin then join my Patreon community. For just $10 a month you get two new yoga classes a month. This month we’re exploring dolphin pose, including warming up, preparatory poses, and cool down. It’s a great way to support me while exploring the movement of your yoga practice. Join here.
- Is dolphin a pose you are able to do?
- Do you have any of the contraindications for dolphin?
- How is the range of movement in your shoulders?