How to Do Dragonfly Pose (Maksikanagasana) in Yoga

Dragonfly Yoga Pose
Dragonfly Pose. © Ann Pizer

Also Known As: Hummingbird Pose, Grasshopper Pose

Targets: Arms, core

Level: Advanced

Dragonfly is a very hard pose that combines an arm balance and a twist. It has a number of elements that are very challenging in their own rights. You have to be a confident arm balancer and comfortable with Side Crow and Flying Crow. Flexibility in the hips and hamstrings is also necessary to get your legs into position. This is not a pose you're going to pick up easily. The good news is that everything you're working on by consistently doing yoga is bringing you to a point where this pose becomes accessible. It's fun when it all comes together, but try not to get too goal-oriented in your yoga practice. Checking poses off your to-do list is not what it's all about. When you're ready for Dragonfly, it will be ready for you. Here's how to get in and out of it. 

Benefits

Dragonfly pose is considered a peak pose. It works the arms, shoulders, and upper back while opening your hips and pelvis. You will have to build your strength, flexibility, and sense of balance in order to achieve it. Practicing it will help further develop these abilities as well as your concentration.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by standing in Mountain Pose.

  1. Shift your weight into your right leg and bring your left ankle to cross your right thigh just above the knee. Your shin will be parallel to the floor. This variation on Chair Pose (Utkatasana) is same position from which you enter Flying Crow.
  2. Come into a forward bend, bringing the palms of your hands to the floor.
  3. Bend the right leg (the standing leg) and twist your torso to the right, walking your hands over until your palms come in line with the side of your right foot. This is a similar arm position to Side Crow.
  4. Bend your elbows down to Chaturanga position and bring the sole of your left foot onto the shelf created by your left upper arm. Try to get the foot as high up your arm as possible.
  5. Bring your right thigh to rest on the left upper arm as well.
  6. Tip forward, bringing your weight into your arms as your right leg straightens out to the side and right foot leaves the floor.
  7. To come out, bend the right knee and bring the right foot back to the floor.
  8. Try the other side.

Common Mistakes

To get the most out of this pose, avoid these errors.

Insufficient Warmup

You must be fully warmed up before you can get into the pose as it requires extreme flexibility in the hips and hamstrings. Don't try to force your joints to bend when they are not ready.

Foot Sliding off Arm

If you try to do this pose without enough flexibility you are likely to find it hard to keep your foot on your arm. This can result in falling forward.

Modifications and Variations

There's not really a beginner's version, but Side Crow is a good preparatory pose. It gives you the feeling of how much you have to twist your torso and how to far forward you need to tip in order to get your feet off the ground. 

Don't be surprised if the two sides are very different. There are a lot of factors that go into making this pose work, but the openness of the hips is the one that may it possible on one side but not the other.

There is a different pose in yin yoga that is called Dragonfly. The yin pose is a seated straddle forward bend, similar to Upavistha Konasana.

Safety and Precautions

Avoid this pose if you have any injury to your lower back, hips, shoulders, wrists, or neck. Be sure you are able to master the preparatory poses and have developed the required strength and flexibility. Stop if you feel any sharp pain. This pose is not recommended during pregnancy.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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