Brief spotlight on Kukkutasana (cockerel pose)

The first in our series of ‘brief spotlights’ on different animal asanas…
Non-human animal:
  • The chicken is the closest living relative of the T-rex! Chickens are descendents from the jungle fowl of SE Asia.
  • Cockerels are renown for their dawn “cock-a-doodle-doooooo” calls.
  • There are now more chickens in the world than humans (vastly hidden away in huge sheds), due to our exploitation of chickens for meat and eggs. Sadly, cockerels have long been used in cockfighting around the world.
Mythology/spirituality:
  • A cockerel is a young male chicken, so this posture may inspire us to connect with more masculine energies within and around ourselves.
  • Cockerels are associated with the sun and the dawn of wisdom. They are associated with an assertive quality.
Asana:
  • This posture features in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (a 15th century text on hatha yoga). The hands and forearms represent the feet and legs of the cockerel. Let us begin or continue the process of de-othering and connect with chickens!
  • Within the human animal body, this posture activates the shoulders, wrists and arms. The core also strongly contracts to help lift the legs. The chest puffs forward. NB: images do not portray the posture to its fullest expression.
Modifications:
  • If it is a struggle to squeeze the arms through the legs, you can place the hands next to the thighs instead. If padmasana (full lotus) is not available, you can simply cross the legs or try with just one leg bent in if required. You can even sit on a chair and push down onto the chair with your hands, still imbibing the other qualities behind the physicality of the posture. Even if no lift is observed, you are still benefiting from the pushing and heading in the same direction. Direction over position! Visualizing the posture is also always an option.

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