Dragonfly pose, which is also more commonly known as grasshopper pose, is an arm balancing pose. It’s one of the more difficult arm balancing poses that requires a good understanding of how arm balances work in order to be able to hold this one. Not only is this posture a strength pose, but it’s also a deep stretch and twisting pose.
The dragonfly pose has so many elements that make up the pose, the body needs to be correctly warmed up before going into the pose. This means that the pose is mostly seen near the end of a yoga flow or practice. This allows time for the body to be properly prepared for a pose like dragonfly.
The basics of dragonfly pose
Dragonfly pose is known as Maksikanagasana in Sanskrit. It’s an arm balance, which means that it mostly targets the arms and the core. The arms have a lot of pressure on them in this pose and the core needs to be activated in order to hold the balance.
This pose also requires the body to be twisted and the hips to open as they are stretched in this pose. There is so much that goes into dragonfly pose, it can be overwhelming when people first try it. It takes a lot of warming up and strength, which makes it an advanced level pose.
The benefits of practicing dragonfly pose
Practicing dragonfly pose has so many benefits, which includes a boost in confidence. This pose is not an easy one to get into or hold and when it is held, it improves focus and makes a person feel extremely confident. The confidence will also help when trying out new arm balances or other more advanced yoga poses.
The physical benefits of practicing dragonfly include strengthening the arms, shoulders, and wrists. It also stretches the upper back and improves flexibility. Dragonfly pose specifically opens and builds flexibility in the area of the hips. This is great for when someone is working on their hip flexibility and trying to improve.
How to do dragonfly pose
Step by step instructions for getting into the pose
- Begin in a standing position with the feet hip-width distance apart and the arms lying next to the side of the body. Slowly, beginning with the right leg first, pick up the right foot and cross it over the left thigh right above the knee. Once the foot is there, flex the right foot.
- Bend into the left knee so that you’re in a standing pigeon pose.
- From there, bend down deeper so that the hands can come to the floor. Once they’re touching the floor, twist over to the left side whilst keeping the pigeon shape of the legs. Don’t let the right leg move out of position.
- With the hands down on the floor and the glutes squatting over the left heel, try to bring the right foot onto the upper right arm. You can twist deeper and lean slightly more to the left to allow the foot to get onto the upper arm.
- Once the foot is stable on the upper arm and won’t slip at all then begin to grip into the hands.
- Shift the gaze so that it’s slightly ahead and slowly begin to lean more onto the arms. Once you feel comfortable and have leaned forward enough, you can lift the left foot off of the ground.
- Keeping the gaze forward and gripping into the fingertips you can extend the left leg straight towards the right side.
- Hold for as long as feels comfortable remembering to breathe deeply before gently releasing.
Common mistakes made when doing the pose
The biggest mistake that people make when trying to do dragonfly is not having their foot hooked onto their upper arm properly. They don’t check that it won’t slip before leaning into the pose. This often causes them to slip whilst leaning forward and can also result in injury. Always check to see if the foot is stable on the arm and isn’t moving around before leaning into dragonfly.
Another mistake that people make when trying the pose out is forgetting or simply leaving out a warmup. This pose requires a lot of warming up otherwise it can be painful to do. Don’t skip the warmup that dragonfly pose requires. It only helps to achieve the pose when the body is warmed up.
For those who are trying the pose out for the first time, practice the shape of the pose beforehand. The shape of dragonfly pose can be practiced lying down or in a seated position. Doing this will help a person to understand what’s needed from them to hold the pose comfortably. It also helps with confidence when getting into the pose.
Another tip is to warm up properly. Never underestimate the helpfulness of warming up. It can change how you enter and hold a pose completely. Warming up the body will help immensely with holding and entering into dragonfly pose. It’ll also make it less uncomfortable when going into the pose for the first time.
If someone is injured in the area of their knees, hips, ankles, or wrists then they shouldn’t be doing dragonfly pose. If anyone is feeling or experiencing pain in these areas, then they should also avoid doing the pose. Consult a doctor or physician before trying out any physical exercise or yoga pose. Always listen to your body and never push past any pain that is felt. Slowly back off from the pose if something doesn’t feel good in your body.
Variations of dragonfly pose
The most common variation of dragonfly pose is crow pose. This is an easier variation and is usually one of the first arm balances taught to yoga students. In this version, there’s no twisting and both knees are on the corresponding upper arms. This creates a more stable shelf to lean on.
Another arm balance variation is one legged crow pose. This pose is about the same difficulty as dragonfly pose, some find it easier, and others find it more difficult. In this version, one leg is extended back whilst the other is leaning on the upper arm.