Grasshopper Pose, Parsva Bhuja Dandasana, (pa-aar-sva-bhu-jaa-dan-dahs-anna)
parsva (side) + bhuja (arms) + danda (stick) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Dragonfly Pose
Create space in your body and learn to fly in this challenging arm balance pose.
Grasshopper Pose Fundamentals
Challenge yourself and turn your mat into a playground with this arm balance pose. Grasshopper is an advanced pose and requires strong wrists, forearms, pelvic floor muscles and core, and open lower back and hips.
Grasshopper combines twisting, hip opening, and arm balancing – allowing you to test out your physical skills in a new and exciting way. All of these elements may also make the pose seem overwhelming. However, if you approach it step by step, it will become much easier to attain.
By going one step at a time, you will be able to see what exactly you need to work on to reach the pose. For example, maybe you struggle with the twist – in which case you can warm up with other twisting positions before getting into Grasshopper.
If balancing on your arms is difficult, you might need to try less complex arm balances first. For example, you could try mastering Side Crow first, as that pose also combines twisting and arm balancing movements.
With time, and as you master each of the steps, you will be able to enter the position safely and confidently. It’s vital to be able to maintain a deep and consistent breath when holding the pose, and that is only possible when you’re truly ready for it.
Still, there’s no reason not to try attempting the pose, even if you’re not sure if you’ll succeed. Equip yourself with curiosity, playfulness, and a sense of humor, so you can laugh off any fall or mistake.In the end, making the pose fun is crucial to maintain the motivation to keep working on it in the long run. Even if you never reach the full expression, you’ll definitely work on your courage and learn something new when you practice Grasshopper Pose.
You can also tune into the spirit of a Grasshopper when setting an intention for the pose. Grasshoppers are best known for two things – their long and precise jumps, and their ability to connect with sound/vibrations in nature in order to communicate and stay safe.
Just like they need to have a strong body for their jumps, and a strong inner voice for survival – so you can also work on building both your physical strength and your inner voice to feel safer and more confident in everyday life.
Grasshopper Pose & The Chakra System
On a similar note, Grasshopper pose balances the Mooladhara or Root Chakra.
This Chakra will also help you to work on your “survival instinct”, diminishing many fears and insecurities, and bringing a sense of inner stability and security.
Grasshopper Pose Benefits
- Improves flexibility in the waist, lower back, thighs, spine, and shoulder blades.
- Strengthens the shoulders, forearms, core, wrists, and back.
- Improves concentration and focus.
- Improves sense of stability and balance – both mentally and physically.
- Massages the internal organs, so it may aid in better function of the digestive system.
- The challenging nature of the pose increases blood circulation through the whole body, which leads to greater release of the “feel good hormones”. This, finally, reduces symptoms of stress and anxiety and brings a sense of calm to the practitioner.
How To Do Grasshopper Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
1. Begin standing in Mountain Pose. Now shift your weight to the left leg. Lift your right ankle and place it on the right thigh, in a variation of Chair Pose.
2. Shift your torso forward to place the palms on the floor. Bend the left knee and rotate your torso to the left, so that your palms are in the same line as your left foot. If Side Crow is in your practice – the position of the arm is the same for both poses, so you can keep that in mind.
3. Bend your elbows and bring your right foot to rest on the right arm.
4. Now try to also rest the right thigh on the right upper arm.
5. When you’re ready, move forward to shift your weight on your arms. Your left leg will be extended to the side and keep moving forward until you’re able to lift it off the floor.
6. To release, bend the left leg and place the foot on the floor. Take a moment to rest in Child’s pose or another restorative position. Then start from the top in Mountain Pose and repeat the same steps on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- Place the foot as high as possible on the triceps – try aiming for the triceps. This will help you to balance better.
- Another thing that will help you with balance is lifting the hips higher.
- Warm up with other twists, hip openers, and arm balances to make sure your body is ready for the pose. The more you prepare, the easier the pose will become, so it’s best to attempt it towards the end of your session.
- Keep your gaze on the ground slightly in front of you.
- Make sure your wrists are firmly rooted into the ground to achieve greater stability and stillness in the elbows.
Grasshopper Pose Variation:
Grasshopper Pose Variation: Baby Grasshopper Pose
Baby Grasshopper Pose is the beginner variation of the pose. It is one of the best asanas you can do to prepare for the full Grasshopper. It involves all the same steps but allows you to slowly build your strength as you will keep one foot on the floor.
To enter baby Grasshopper, begin in Staff Pose. Place your right hand on the floor slightly behind the right hip. Bend the left leg. Place the left foot on the outer side of the right hip. Grab the right foot with the left arm. Now shift your weight into the right hand and the left foot. Keep moving your torso forward, and when you’re ready, lift the hips and the right foot off the ground.
Grasshopper Pose Variation: Grasshopper Pose With Props
There are several ways in which you can use props to aid you in Grasshopper Pose. If you aren’t used to balancing poses, you might be afraid you will fall forward when you lift off. If that’s the case for you, you can place a cushion in front of your head, so it protects your head if you fall.
If you struggle to keep your arms high enough when you’re lifting off in the pose, you can place a block under each hand to add height. Gripping the blocks with your fingers will also help you with stability and balance.
If you are able to lift off in Grasshopper Pose but can’t keep the lifted leg straight, place the foot on a block.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Upper body not strong enough. If you aren’t able to perform the pose without “cheats” like squeezing one arm into your side body for more support, or rounding the shoulders, it may mean you’re not ready for it. It’s crucial to perform the pose with proper alignment to protect yourself from injury.
Not Focusing On The Wrists. Make sure you protect your wrists by keeping them directly below the elbows, keeping the hands only slightly wider than shoulder-width, and spreading the fingers wide.
Avoid the pose if you have any severe or recent injuries in the hips, lower back, wrists, shoulders, or neck.
Eight Angle Pose
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