The Dolphin Pose, also known as Ardha Pincha Mayurasana in Sanskrit, is a yoga posture that is commonly practised in modern yoga. While there is less connection between the dolphin pose and any specific mythological roots than say Hanuman pose. The pose is often associated with the qualities of dolphins and their symbolic significance in various cultures.
In Hindu mythology, dolphins are considered to be the protectors of the oceans and are often associated with the goddess Ganga, who is sometimes said to ride on a dolphin as her vehicle.
While I was on a boat in Varanasi in India, I was lucky enough to see two Ganges river dolphins joyfully leaping from the water. I was surprised at the sight because at that time I believed that dolphins could only be found in oceans. I told my fellow boat travellers about this wondering if they too had seen the amazing sight and they laughed at me. In hysterics, they told me that there are no dolphins in the Ganges river. I later researched into this, convinced by what I had seen and I found out that yes there are Ganges river dolphins
The goddess Ganga is believed to be the personification of the Ganges river. According to legend, the Ganges river flows from the heavens, and the goddess Ganga descended from the heavens to purify the souls of the living and the dead. It is believed that the Ganges River Dolphin is the vehicle of the goddess Ganga and is considered to be a symbol of purity, grace, and protection.
In Hindu culture, seeing a Ganges River Dolphin is considered to be auspicious and is believed to bring good fortune. This is because the dolphin is associated with the goddess Ganga, who is revered for her purifying and cleansing powers. According to Hindu belief, bathing in the waters of the Ganges river and receiving the blessings of Ganga can wash away sins and bring spiritual purification.
Like the Goddess Ganga, The Dolphin pose is often referred to as a purifying pose in yoga because it can help to stimulate and balance the digestive and respiratory systems, which are crucial for eliminating toxins and impurities from the body.
In this pose, the upper body is inverted, which can improve blood circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system, which plays a significant role in the body’s immune system and the elimination of toxins. Additionally, the Dolphin pose can help to tone and strengthen the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and back, which can aid in supporting the body’s natural detoxification process.
Unfortunately, the population of Ganges River Dolphins has been declining due to pollution, habitat loss, and overfishing. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this endangered species now estimated as less than 2000 dolphins. Including measures to reduce pollution and promote sustainable fishing practices, as well as initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the Ganges River Dolphin and its habitat.
Like the habitat of the Ganges needs to be cleansed and detoxified to enable the dolphin to be able to thrive and live its life of fun and joy. Our bodies and environment also need to be detoxified and purified both materially and spiritually so that we too can experience our Joy. The practice of the Dolphin pose can help us in this pursuit.
In ancient Greek mythology, dolphins were considered to be the companions of the sea god Poseidon and were also believed to be messengers between humans and the gods. In some myths, dolphins were seen as saviours of sailors, guiding them safely to shore during storms. As such, the dolphin is often associated with guidance, protection, and safety.
Like the Greek sea God Poseidon the dolphin is also believed to be a messenger of the Hindu sea god, Varuna and like the pose is and is associated with purity, playfulness, and grace.
“Varuna, the god of the sea, is often depicted as riding on the back of a dolphin, which symbolizes his control over the ocean.” – Vishnu Purana, Book 1, Chapter 8
Dolphins are also believed to possess healing powers and are associated with good luck and prosperity. As you practice the pose endeavour to embody the beautiful energy of dolphins.