Many yoga poses are named after animals and other things in the natural world that they…
Grasshopper Yoga Pose is also called Insect Pose, Dragon Fly Pose, or Revolved Flying Pigeon. It’s the common name for what is called Maksikanagasana or Parsva Bhuja Dandasana (Side Arm Staff Pose) in Sanskrit. Although it may seem like a challenging asymmetrical arm balance, we’ll break down the pose for you so you can include it in your regular asana practice.
Grasshopper Pose stimulates your mental and physical fitness by strengthening your core, shoulders, and arm muscles. It also stretches your hips, reduces tension in your body by providing a twist, and challenges your balance and stability.
A 10-Step Guide to Grasshopper Yoga Pose
- Start in Mountain Pose at the top of your mat. Bend your right knee and cross your ankle over your left thigh in a slight squat as if you’re getting into Chair Pose. Keep your right foot flexed to protect your knee joint.
- Bring your palms together in front of you in Prayer position and keep your core strong as you twist towards the left side.
- Place your hands on the ground on the outside of your left foot at shoulder width distance apart. Spread your fingers wide and push them into the ground for a strong, solid foundation.
- Position your right foot over your right elbow. Bend your arms to a 90-degree angle so that they form a shelf.
- Carefully lean to the left and forward to shift your weight onto your arms, allowing your left leg to lift off your mat.
- Keep your gaze focused forward and beyond your fingertips. If you look down, your entire body might collapse forward.
- Slowly extend your left foot towards the right side. Keep your foot flexed and strongly push your right foot into your arm for strength and support.
- Push into your fingertips to adjust your weight and find your balance.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths and make sure to never hold your breath. Then carefully release the pose by placing your left foot back onto the ground.
- Move into Child’s Pose to rest and recover before practicing the pose on the other side.
You may finish up with Seated or Supine Spinal Twists and Happy Baby Pose to release your hips, arms, back, and core after this complex asana.
Remember that in any twist or asymmetrical pose, your body may find one side easier than the other.
Warm up and Preparatory Poses
To open up your hip flexors as well as strengthen and lengthen your back and core muscles, start your warm up with a few rounds of Cat-Cows, Full Squats, and Cow Face Pose.
To strengthen your core, back, arms, wrists, and shoulders, stay in a Plank and Side Plank for a few breaths.
Do a few rounds of Surya Namaskar to lengthen your hamstrings and strengthen your core muscles. Focus on maintaining good form in your Chaturanga Dandasana in order to develop arm strength, stability, and focus.
To develop the full range of motion required for Grasshopper Pose, it’s especially important to practice twists and hip openers before going into this challenging arm balance. Here are a few asanas you can practice in order to increase your hip mobility.
Variations of Kapotasana – Pigeon Pose
As a deep hip opener, Pigeon Pose is a good pose to practice when preparing for Grasshopper Pose. Find whatever variation of the pose feels best to you.
You may start in Reclining Pigeon Pose, or Sucirandhrasana. It’s essentially a Pigeon Pose that’s practiced while lying on your back. In this pose you can more easily control how far you want to open your hips.
Practice Half Pigeon Pose, or Ardha Kapotasana, with your front shin lying parallel to the short edge of your mat. Keep your front foot flexed to protect your knee joint.
If your right leg is bent in front of you, bring your palms together in front of you into Prayer Position, twist to the left, and lower your body so that your elbow anchors over your right foot. You may go deeper into this twist by eventually hooking your armpit into your flexed right foot. This pose is called Revolved Pigeon Pose aka Parivrtta Kapotasana.
Parivrtta Agnistambhasana – Revolved Fire Log Pose
Keep your shins parallel to the top of your mat and feet flexed while in Fire Log Pose. Bring your palms together in front of you into Prayer Position as you add the twist to this seated hip opening asana. Anchor your elbow over your upper foot and take deep long breaths.
Revolved Extended Side Crow Pose
Also get used to the asymmetrical side arm balance that is Grasshopper Pose by practicing a variation of Side Crow with your legs extended. This will help you develop your focus and balance.
Revolved Chair Pose Variation
You may also practice a scaled variation of Grasshopper Pose in order to warm up for the final version. While the set-up is identical to when you’re getting into Grasshopper Pose, keep your palms together in front of you in Prayer Position rather than placing them on the ground after you twist down and to the side. This will help you develop core strength and stability as you twist your spine and open up your hips at the same time.
For all of these twisted asanas, make sure to rest in a symmetrical pose such as Child’s Pose, Easy Seated Pose, Kneeling, or Savasana before switching sides. Observing your body in between challenging poses is a good, mindful, and meditative practice that will help strengthen your mental discipline and focus.
Grasshopper Pose Variations and Supported Versions
Baby Grasshopper Pose is a scaled variation of the pose. While it targets the same muscle groups, it also places less strain on your arms because the foot of your bent leg is placed on the ground rather than lying on your arm.
You may also practice full Grasshopper Pose with a yoga block underneath your extended leg to help keep you lifted up.
You might also find it useful to wrap a yoga strap around your arms to prevent your elbows from opening up too wide.
No matter what part of the pose you’re able to get into, remember to keep a playful attitude towards practicing this pose. Even yoga practitioners with years of experience find this pose to be challenging so go easy on yourself and always keep things light and fun.
Safety Tips and Contraindications
Be especially mindful of properly warming up your body before doing Grasshopper Pose. It’s also helpful if you incorporate arm balance practices into your regular routine.
Keep your fingers spread wide as you press them into the ground to find and keep your balance. Pushing your foot into your arm will also help with balance and stability.
This pose is not recommended for anyone with back, wrist, shoulder, or hip injuries. Also make sure to avoid this pose if you’re pregnant or have a history of low blood pressure.
Grasshopper Pose is one of the trickiest yoga asanas for any yoga practitioner. With a proper warm up and preparation, it can, however, be a fun, funky pose that you may practice regularly. Just remember to breathe, enjoy, and have fun while exploring your sense of balance in this twisted balancing pose that will no doubt challenge you in a good way, both physically and mentally.