Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Makara Mean?

Makara is a Sanskrit word meaning “water monster” or “sea dragon.” In Hindu mythology, a makara is a sea creature who serves as a vehicle (vahana) for the Ganga; the river goddess; and the sea god, Varuna. Makaras are typically depicted as half mammal and half fish with an aquatic hind portion and a terrestrial head, such as that of an elephant. These creatures are the guardians of thresholds and entryways.

Makara is the name given to several yoga poses and a mudra.


Yogapedia Explains Makara

Makara is the symbol of Kama Deva, or Mara, the Hindu god of love and desire. In Hindu astrology, it represents a sign that is equivalent to the zodiac sign of Capricorn. The name is also used in the following yoga practices:

  • Makarasana, or Makara’s pose, is a relaxing posture that calms the mind and relieves fatigue. To practice this asana, start in a prone position on the stomach. Place one palm on top of the other facing down, and rest the forehead on the hands. The legs should be hip-width apart.
  • Makara mudra is an energizing hasta mudra, or hand gesture, that may be used during meditation. Start by placing one hand atop the other, face up, so the tips of the fingers are pointing toward the wrists. With the upper hand, touch the tip of the thumb and the tip of the ring finger, forming a circle. Thread the thumb of the lower hand between the ring finger and middle finger of the upper hand and through the circle formed by the thumb and ring finger.

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