[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtpmeLPGc-w&w=420&h=315] I love arm balances.
They're part of the reason I fell in love with yoga- the idea of seemingly floating over the earth in a pretzel position was incredibly intriguing, and once you nail one, you're addicted to learning another. I've written a bit about crow pose and ways to play with it, but I recently was able to get into maksikanagasana, or grasshopper pose, and was eager to share how I did it.
Grasshopper is one of those poses that looks more complicated than it really is. To be honest, I never really tried to attempt this pose because I simply didn't know where to begin. I hadn't ever had someone break it down in a class or workshop for me, so I didn't know the set up or execution.
Luckily, some quick research turned up a wealth of knowledge on how to become a creepy-crawly grasshopper, and I was able to get it with a couple tries! I was able to get this pose fairly quickly because I have a lot of practice and experience with arm balances, and once you get used to the sensation of shifting your weight forward into your hands, it's fairly applicable to all variations.
So check out the video above (or the breakdown below) to try your hand at my newest yoga obsession!
Lay on your back with your feet planted on the floor. Cross the ankle of one foot over the knee of the other. Slide interlaced hands underneath thigh to gently guide legs into your chest, keeping head and neck reclined. Actively flex the toes to protect the knee and use your bent elbow to press the leg of your crossed foot away from you.
STANDING HIP OPENER
PEACE SIGN FINGER BIG TOE EXTENSION
Optional step: slide your peace sign fingers to your big toe after pulling your knee into your belly. Extend the leg straight out in front before opening the hip to the side.
FIGURE FOUR CHAIR POSE
Like you're setting up for reclined pigeon, cross one ankle over your standing leg's knee, and sit deeply. Rock the weight back in your heels and breathe.
FIGURE FOUR FORWARD FOLD
From your figure four chair, reach your palms to the ground while keeping the bending in your legs.
FIGURE FOUR TWISTS
JUMP RIGHT IN!
Arm balances come down to bravery in the execution. Crawl into a twist so that your crossed foot is pressed into your arm. Place all your weight into your hands, bend your arms like a chaturanga, and shoot your leg out from underneath you, straightening your leg and flexing your toe. Smile and breathe!