Grasshopper Pose

Grasshopper Pose

 

Grasshopper Pose is certainly an eye catcher!This posture looks weird and probably scares the heck out most beginner yoga students. It should be noted that this pose isn’t a beginner posture and should be practiced with caution, especially by yoga newbies. This pose will require upper body strength, balance and open hips.
Basically, Grasshopper Pose consists of three postures in one. Practicing this yoga pose will take you through an arm balance, a spinal twist and a hip opener. Flexibility and strength will both play a key role in adding this posture to your practice. It would be good advice to make sure your arm balance practice is solid, along with your hip flexibility.Maksikanagasana or Parsva Bhuja Dandasana is the Sanskrit name for this posture. The breakdown for the Sanskrit name is as follows, “Parsva Bhuja Dand” meaning “Side Arm Staff”, or “Side Arm Stick Pose” and “Asana” meaning “Pose”. You may also hear this posture referred to as Dragon Fly Pose by some instructors. Be careful not to confuse this pose with another challenging arm balance called Firefly Pose.There’s no doubt that Dragon Flies and Grasshoppers are amazing insects and this pose honors them nicely with its complexity and test of strength. Plus, Grasshopper Pose really does resemble an insect!

 

Benefits Of The Pose:

Grasshopper Pose

There’s a ton of stuff happening in this pose. So, it makes perfect sense that this beauty of an arm balance would offer plenty of potential benefits. The arms, shoulders, core and hips would be considered the primary beneficiaries of this posture. Grasshopper also provides a nice spinal twist as well, but that’s not all. This arm balance is also a hip opener and therefore affords the many benefits of flexible hips.

Strengthening our core and shoulders can help us in many ways. A strong core is vital to helping protect our back from injuries, and a strong upper back and shoulders can lead us to better posture. Naturally, developing this upper body strength will also aid your yoga practice as you journey toward more challenging postures.

A spinal twist and hip opener are also key benefits from Grasshopper Pose. Open and flexible hips can add important range of motion to your lower body and reduce tension. This added flexibility can aid us in everyday activities and counteract sitting all day at a desk. Many believe that twisting postures can help aid digestive functions and help the body detox by cutting off and then re-introducing blood to the digestive organs.

Of course, this posture can also provide a boost of confidence and satisfaction. It’s likely that you will face setbacks as you try to add this pose to your practice. As a result, once you succeed, you will gain needed confidence to pursue getting past other yoga or life obstacles.

Primary Benefits:

Strengthens The Core

Stretches The Hips

Provides A Twist

Reduces Tension

Strengthens The Shoulders

 

Prep & Follow Up Poses:

There are numerous postures that can act as effective preparatory poses for Grasshopper Pose. These postures include Chair Pose, Half Chair Pose, Happy Baby Pose and a seated twist such as Cow Face Pose. Hip openers such as Malasana Pose can also help warm up your body for this posture.

Follow up poses can include Happy Baby Pose, Child’s Pose and Mountain Pose. Counter spinal twist poses are also popular follow ups to Grasshopper or Dragon Fly.

 

Modifications & Cautions:

There are no simple beginner versions of this posture. However, you may consider trying Baby Grasshopper as an alternative pose. Baby Grasshopper is a simpler yet challenging version that doesn’t require both feet off the ground.

You can also practice this pose in stages with Half Chair Pose, also known as Figure Four. It’s basically Chair Pose with one foot on the ground and the opposite ankle placed on the knee.

Avoid this pose if you are suffering any injuries to the back, wrists, shoulders or hips.

This pose should be avoided if you are pregnant.

High or low blood pressure are good reasons to skip this pose.

 

Major Tips:

Be careful starting this pose from a standing position, this can strain the knees.

Warm up the body properly, especially the hips.

Try to become adept at easier arm balances before trying Grasshopper Pose.

Keep your fingers spread wide to help with balance and grip.

Wipe any sweat from your foot and arm to avoid the foot slipping from the arm.

Don’t force any joints to bend.

Don’t hold your breath during the pose, remember to breathe.

You may find that practicing this pose on one side is much easier than the other side.

Strongly press your foot into your arm, this can help with balance.

Remember to engage your core, pull your belly button toward your spine.

Gaze just past your fingertips.

 

Step-By-Step Instructions:

We will enter the pose from Mountain Pose.

Place your weight into your right foot.

Lift and bend your left leg, place your left ankle over your right knee.

Remember to flex your left foot.

Allow your right knee to bend as if sitting into Chair Pose.

Place your hands in prayer position.

Maintain a strong core as you hold this position.

Twist to the right, place the back of your left arm to the arch of your left foot.

Keep pressing your hands together and keep your core engaged.

Focus on a non-moving point to help with balance.

Slowly place your hands at shoulder width on the ground outside your right foot.

Keep your fingers spread wide.

With the elbows bent, engage your core and slowly lean into your arms.

Keep your left foot on your left arm.

Try to engage and lift your right hip away from your left elbow, keep the left knee pointing upward.

At this point, your right foot will still be on the ground.

Slowly try lifting it off the ground, try small short lifts at first.

Remember to strongly keep the left foot pressing into the left arm and keep your core engaged as you try to balance with the right foot off the ground.

Focus on your fingertips.

Try to hold the full pose for a few breaths.

Exit the pose by placing the right foot back to the ground.

Place your weight back into your right foot and release the left foot from the left arm.

Perhaps move into Child’s Pose for a rest.