Yoga Daṇḍāsana or Grasshopper Pose is our peak pose for this series. The twisting and hip opening that we’ve practiced with Parivṛitta Utkaṭāsana, Dwi Pāda Kouṇḍinyāsana, and Eka Pāda Rājakapotāsana have created the foundation, so hopefully you feel ready to explore. One of the best things about this pose is the deep twist you can experience.
While the name might tempt you to hop into the pose, be sure to move slowly and deliberately. Jumping or launching into the pose can be harmful to the shoulders and can be too jostling for sustaining the pose and maintaining the breath.
Try these stages and variations for Grasshopper:
Option 1: Standing Pigeon Twist – From fierce pose with pigeon, twist in the direction of the top foot. Press the elbow into the arch of the foot, keeping the foot stable. Keep working the twist until you can get the triceps braced on the arch of the foot. If balance is an issue, work next to the wall for stability. You can also work on this twist from the seated pigeon variation. Be sure not to put on any lotion or balms as this makes it difficult to find secure placement of the foot.
Option 2: Grasshopper Prep – When the foot is securely anchored to the triceps, bend the bottom leg and lower to your hands. Place the hands just wider than shoulder width. Shift the heart forward to bring more weight in the hands, bend the elbows slightly, maintain the twist, the connection of the foot, and lift through the low belly.
Option 3: Hip Hopper – When you are ready, reach the heart further forward, scoop the belly, bend the elbows back, and lift the bottom leg from the floor. The back leg can rest on the triceps or it might float. If you find that it’s difficult to maintain the twist when the feet leave the ground, go back a step or two and try to increase the range of the twist. Slippy pants can add a higher degree of difficulty, so keep that in mind when you get dressed to practice.
Option 4: Grasshopper – Extend the bottom leg away, trying to keep it parallel to the floor. Press the foot into the triceps for lift and to deepen the twist. Keep reaching the heart forward and lifting through the belly using uddiyana bandha to create flight in the pose. Many yogis are surprised at how stable this balance can feel, because you are basically stepping on the shelf created with the arms.
There’s a lot going on in this pose, so if it doesn’t come together right away, keep working on twisting, hip opening, and bearing weight on your hands. Follow this #PowerPose challenge @suzannewrightyoga on Instagram or at Suzanne Wright Yoga on Facebook. If you post your pictures or about your experience be sure to tag #PowerPose and @suzannewrightyoga.