• Kukkuta: Rooster
  • Asana: Pose

Kukkutasana is the twenty-third pose of the primary series, and the eighteenth seated pose. This is the final pose of what is often called the “apex” of the Primary series—five challenging asana in the middle of the sequence.

Kukkutasana, an arm balance, is entered directly from Garbha Pindasana. It can only be performed in Lotus. (If attempted with the legs not in lotus, it becomes Bhujapidasana.)


Maintain as much flexion of the spine as possible, especially rounding the back and lifting between the shoulder blades. Keep the shoulder blades as wide as possible, wrapping around to the sides of the ribs.

Exiting the posture by jumping back from lotus requires a great deal of strength of the sort derived from the practice of ordinary jump backs and uthplitihi.

Vinyasa of the Pose

On the ninth rock forward from Garbha Pindasana, come onto your hands and balance for five breaths. This is the state of the pose.


Exhaling, slide the lotus down the arms until you’re seated.

Inhale, lift the lotus (or come onto the knees; described below).

Exhale, jump back.


Jumping back in lotus is quite challenging. A way to build up to it is to rock forward from seated lotus onto your knees, place the arms shoulder width apart so the elbows are just under the body, then attempt to balance on the elbows. From there, straighten the legs and come down into chatvari.


Once you’re ready to try something more challenging, try “hooking” one lotus foot behind an arm before you lift up. That way, you’ll have additional leverage.

Then, one day, you’ll simply be able to lift up and jump back:

Lotus jump-back

A video posted by Ashtanga Yoga Room (@yogawithgriffinamelia) on


Do not allow the shoulder blades to pinch together or the arms to go dead. Press firmly through the hands, round the back, and lift as high from the ground as possible.

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