Grasshopper Pose opens the hips, twists the spine and strengthens the core. Get your hopper on – with grace and elegance! Here’s how to, step by step.
Benefits of Grasshopper: an all-in-one pose!
Grasshopper Pose is called Parsva Bhuja Dandasana in Sanskrit, which means “Side staff on the arms”. It is also known as Maksikanagasana, Dragonfly Pose.
With legs up in the air, one bent and the other stretched far out to the side, the shape of the pose truly looks a grasshopper ready to jump! That is probably why Grasshopper is the most often used name.
(Note: Dragonfly Pose is also the name for other poses, such as Upavistha Konasana, Seated Wide Angle Pose)
Let’s look at this pose’s many actions:
- Hip opening
- Spinal twist
- Forward fold
- Strength in the arms and core
- Balance -yep, on your hands
- And willpower and patience!
Prepare for Grasshopper Pose
It often takes willpower and patience to practice the this pose. There’s no rushing into this pose but gradual warming and opening of the body with:
- Sun Salutations to create heat and wake the body up,
- Adho Mukha Svanasana or inversions to lengthen the spine
- Hamstring opening with forward folds like Uttanasana or Pascimottanasana or Janu Sirsasana,
- Hip openers like Malasana, Marichyasana series, or Pigeon, Lotus or Butterfly pose.
- Meet the Grasshopper world with Baby Grasshopper Pose!
- And then set off to meet the Grasshopper Mother (or Daddy Hopper) in all her splendor!
How to do Grasshopper Pose?
Ready to channel the Queen or the King of Hops?
- From the Mountain Pose,
- Start with Ardha Utkatasana, Half Chair Pose (or “Funky Chair”): bend the left knee and cross the ankle on the right thigh, while releasing the hips towards the ground and bending the right knee, into Chair Pose
- Bring the palms of the hands together in front of the heart
- And on an exhale, turn the torso and place your elbow or (better) the upper left arm on the sole of the left foot for Parsva Ardha Utkatasana: Half Twisting Chair Pose
- Short break here if you want – breathe!
- Then exhale and release the hands to the floor, shoulder width apart, elbows close to the body
- Start transferring your weight from the right foot to the arms: come on the tip of the right foot, find a solid contact between your left foot and the upper left arm, raise your hips
- Then lift the right foot, activate the core, keep the elbows close to the torso, and straighten the leg!
- There you are, Grasshopper! Breathe!
- To get out of the pose, put your foot back on the ground, and gradually untangle your torso and legs to return to center. Do the other side!
Tips for Grasshopper Pose
- Warm up!
- Place the foot as high as possible on the arm / on the triceps: this helps balance the weight between the torso and the legs
- Raise the hips to lift the lower body, and lean forward: this also helps balance of the torso / leg weight
- And if it’s not for today: practice Chaturanga, Crow / Crane Pose as well as side Crane and hip-openers to prepare.
Contraindications to Grasshopper Pose
Always practice listening to your body – Grasshopper has very sharp hearing and invites us to listen intently:
- This posture may not be appropriate in the case of hip, wrist, back or shoulder issues.
- Grasshopper Pose combines many actions: deep hip opening, strength in the arms and torso, forward bending and twisting of the spine. So listen carefully if your body tells you it doesn’t want to go too deep into asana today.
- Go for Baby Grasshopper or Crow / Crane Pose instead, as you build up to full Grasshopper!
Hop, hop hop!