[Pose Of the Week] Lift & Balance In Shoulder Pressing Pose (Intermediate)

Strengthen your core and upper body and begin to master arm balances with Shoulder Pressing Pose…

Shoulder Pressing Pose (Bhujapidasana) – also known as Shoulder Press or Arm Pressure Pose – is an intermediate level Ashtanga yoga pose that is great for students just beginning to learn arm balance poses. This pose relies more on proper positioning and balance than arm strength, so it’s a good way to start practicing for more advanced arm balances. It is often done as a warmup to the more advanced Firefly Pose.

Shoulder Pressing Pose has a number of helpful benefits, including building strength in the back, arms, shoulders, wrists, inner thighs, and core muscles, improving balance, and opening the hips. It is also believed to activate the third chakra, helping to build internal strength, confidence, and courage.

This pose does require some flexibility in the hips to perform properly, so make sure you are warmed up before performing the pose, and practice some hip opening poses such as Bound Angle, Garland, and Eagle Pose first.

To stay balanced, press your arms against your thighs while squeezing your thighs inward. Pull your navel up and inward towards your spine. And make sure you are evenly balanced on both hands. Keep your gaze upwards, not down at your feet.

To modify the pose, you may wish to place a yoga block under your seat until you have the arm strength needed to balance on your hands. You can also practice the pose without the ankles crossed if that’s easier.

Those with wrist, shoulder, elbow, or lower back injuries, and those who are pregnant or have high blood pressure should avoid this pose.

How to Do Shoulder Pressing Pose:

Step 1: Squat with your feet a little less than shoulder width apart, knees wide.

Step 2: Tilt your torso forward between your inner thighs. Then, keeping your torso low, raise your hips until your thighs become close to parallel to the floor.

Step 3: Snug your upper left arm and shoulder as much as possible under the back of your left thigh just above the knee, and place your left hand on the floor at the outside edge of your left foot, fingers pointing forward. Then repeat on the right. As you do this your upper back will round.

Step 4: Press your inner hands firmly against the floor and slowly begin to rock your weight back, off your feet and onto your hands. As you straighten your arms, your feet will lift lightly off floor, not by raw strength but by carefully shifting your center of gravity.

Step 5: Squeeze your outer arms with your inner thighs, and if possible, cross your right ankle over your left ankle. Look straight ahead. Hold for 30 seconds, then bend your elbows and lightly release your feet back to the floor with an exhale.

Step 6: Repeat the pose a second time with the left ankle on top – or simply play with entering and maintaining the pose without crossing the ankles if that seems too difficult.

Read More at YogaJournal.com


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