Dragonfly Pose (Maksikanagasana)

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Dragonfly Pose, Maksikanagasana (mak-si-kan-a-ga-sunuh)

Maksika (fly, bee) + naga (snake) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Parsva Bhuja Dandasana, Hummingbird Pose, Grasshopper Pose

Pose Type: Balancing, Strengthening, Stretching

Difficulty: Advanced

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing dragonfly pose

Challenge your concentration and strength with this unique arm balance.

Dragonfly Pose Fundamentals

Dragonfly Pose is an unusual arm balance and a twist.

It is an advanced pose, as it requires a lot from the practitioner – strength in the core, arms, and legs, flexibility in the spine and hips, and good balance skills.

If you want to try out this pose but haven’t yet mastered less challenging arm balances, try working up towards it with a bit less intense poses, such as Side Crow and Eight Angle Pose.

Even if you are advanced, consider Dragonfly apeak pose”, meaning you should warm up well and do other arm balances and stretches before you go into this asana.

Besides advanced strength and flexibility, Dragonfly pose also requires a good understanding of alignment and coordination. You should have a good sense of how to engage the muscles correctly and how to keep the wrists and shoulders safe.

The challenge of this pose can bring a great sense of accomplishment when you achieve it, as it connects everything you’ve been doing in your yoga practice, and shows you how far you’ve come.

With time, Dragonfly Pose may become a wonderful tool to work on your breath and see how it can help you to use even such a hard asana for relieving tension from the body.

Furthermore, breathing will help you boost energy in the body, which in turn also increases your concentration and focus.

Dragonfly Pose Benefits

  • Stretches and lengthens the hips, pelvis, spine, and wrists.
  • Strengthens and tones the arms, shoulders, back, legs, and abs.
  • Challenges and improves your balance skills.
  • The twist stimulates the internal organs of the abdomen and pelvis, which boosts the function of the digestive and reproductive systems.
  • As an asymmetrical pose, it may help activate both sides of the brain, which brings more balance to your mind.
  • Boosts confidence and brings a sense of courage and accomplishment.
an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing dragonfly pose

How To Do Dragonfly Pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

  1. Begin in Chair Pose. Shift your weight into the right foot and lift your left ankle on top of the right thigh.
  2. Fold into a forward bend, and place your hands on the floor.
  3. Now bend the right leg further and twist your upper body towards the right side. Walk your hands to the right, so they are in the same line as your right foot. It is a similar starting position as you would do for Side Crow.
  4. Begin bending your elbows into Chaturanga Position.
  5. Place your left foot on top of your left upper arm. Place it as close to the shoulder as possible.
  6. Now rest your right thigh on the left upper arm.
  7. Fold forward, shifting your weight to your arms. Straighten the right leg and allow the foot to come off the floor.
  8. Hold for as long as you can, and slowly get out of the pose.
  9. Raise back to Mountain Pose and release any tension in your legs or arms. Then, try the pose on the other side.

Tips And Tricks:

  • Dragonfly is an arm balance, and you should prep with arm-strengthening poses like Chaturanga. However, it is also a hip-opener and a twist, so you should also open your body with some stretches before attempting it.
  • Engage your core to move some weight away from the arms and wrists.
  • Keep the extended leg active and reach it towards the side.
  • Mental work is just as important as physical effort in this asana – approach it with focus and concentration, and use the awareness of the breath to remain present.
  • Don’t rush it – taking time to enter the pose and focusing on the right alignment will help you feel stronger in the pose and hold it for longer.

Dragonfly Pose Variations:

Side Crow

a woman wearing black yoga clothes in side crow pose/ side crane pose

Dragonfly Pose is an arm balance and a twist, and another pose that combines these two actions is Side Crow. 

The leg position in Side Crow is much less complex, so you should nail that pose first before going into Dragonfly. Learn more about this asana and find step-by-step instructions in our Side Crow guide. 

Dragonfly Pose Variation: With Blocks

You can make this pose much more approachable by using blocks.

Set up by stacking two blocks on top of each other on their lowest level, but stagger them a bit so a little of the top of the bottom block is still showing. 

Sit on the blocks, cross the left ankle over your right leg, and place the right heel on the top of the bottom block. Leave the toes on the floor. 

You can continue entering the Dragonfly Pose from here – the blocks will make balancing much easier. 

Dragonfly Pose Variation: Flying Dragonfly Pose 

If you nailed Dragonfly Pose and want to play a little bit more – you can try this advanced variation. 

Only attempt this variation if you’re able to keep the foot of the bent leg high on the arm. 

Begin with Dragon Fly Pose. However, once you lift off, don’t extend the right leg to the side. Instead, bend the right heel towards your hip, and if you can, stretch the leg behind you. 

In this variation, your right leg will no longer press into the opposite ankle, so you will need much more strength to stay up. You will feel stronger if you keep your right toes active—either pointed or flexed.  

Precautions & Contraindications:

Common misalignments

Not warming up. Dragonfly Pose is challenging and requires advanced flexibility. To make the pose more approachable and to avoid injuries, make sure you do some stretches before attempting the pose.

Foot Sliding. A common problem with this pose is that students aren’t able to keep their foot high enough on the upper arm because it slides off. This can be due to sweating or slippery clothes, but also because you lack flexibility. However, do your best to keep your foot up – that will prevent you from tipping forward. 

Injuries and Conditions

Avoid Dragonfly Pose if you have an injury in the arms, wrists, hips, knees, neck, hands, or lower back. Since it is a balance pose, practice with care or consult with a professional if you have high blood pressure or any balance issues such as vertigo or dizziness. The pose is not recommended for pregnant women.

Related Poses

Eight-Angle Pose

Baby Grasshopper

Flying Crow Pose

Preparatory Poses:

Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose

Figure Four Stretch

Crow Pose

Four-Limbed Staff Pose

Counter Poses:

Low Lunge Pose

Standing Forward Fold

Child’s Pose

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

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Sara lives in Croatia, near the sea, with her dog. She enjoys exploring nature, and making art. She is currently developing a series of children’s/YA stories and comics in her native language, which she feels complements her work and allows her to live her dream life – having yoga, writing, art, and nature in her every day.

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