December Pose of the Month: Samantha Leigh Chooses Natarajasana
Sanskrit: Parsva Bhuja Dandasana – [side arm staff pose] – Variation
English: Baby Grasshopper Pose or Dragonfly Pose (modified)
December’s Pose of the Month is a variation of Dragonfly Pose, commonly referred to as Baby Grasshopper Pose. While the full version of Grasshopper is an intense twist and arm-balance, Baby Grasshopper is a beginner-to-intermediate version of the posture because one foot remains on the floor.
Grasshoppers are known in many cultures as a universal symbol of good luck. They are unable to jump sideways or backward. They can only jump forward. As we enter the final month of the calendar year, often our minds turn toward New Year’s resolutions, toward taking stock of the previous year and making commitments for the upcoming one. While it is always advantageous to look back for insight and revelation, the act of looking back is quite different from the act of stepping, or jumping, back. Often, stepping back involves falling into old, stagnant, or even destructive habits and patterns. To enact the change and evolution that this time of the year tends to inspire, we must be willing to look back while resolutely moving forward.
Full Grasshopper Pose is also known as Dragonfly Pose. Dragonflies, throughout the world, symbolize change, and particularly change in the perspective self-realization. They stand for the kind of change that grows with emotional maturity and a deeper understanding of universal consciousness. The pose is a twist – a literal wringing out of anything toxic; an arm balance – a self-confidence builder; and a hip-opener – tapping into the place where deep emotions reside. It cultivates strength, openness, and balance, which are three ideal traits to inhabit as we collectively jump forward into a new year of change, challenge, possibility, learning, and light.
To practice, begin seated in Staff Pose (Dandasana). Bend the right knee and stamp the right foot on the floor to the outside of the extended left leg. Place the left hand on the floor, in line with the right foot, bend the left elbow toward a right angle, and lift the right hip up toward the sky. Reach with the right arm, in front of the right leg, to grab hold of the outer edge of the flexed left foot. Core engaged, lean forward and use the left hand and right foot pressed firmly into the ground for stability. Hold. Breathe. Smile. To come down, simply lower the hips, extend the legs back out to Staff Pose, and repeat on the opposite side.