Shoulder-Pressing Pose is an intermediate posture that relies on arm strength to lift the body. With the legs wrapped around the elbows, you are better able to stabilize the lower body as you push into the lift. 

Known as Bhujapidasana in Sanskrit, this asana allows you to maintain and continue to build any muscle in the forearms, biceps, and shoulders. 

If you are a beginner and would like to prepare for Shoulder-Pressing Pose, begin working on your upper body and shoulder strength through a variety of beginner-friendly postures such as Plank Pose or Wild Thing.

Benefits of Shoulder-Pressing Pose

Tone the arms with Bhujapidasana. You will also gain awesome strength in the chest area as you press into your yoga mat, drawing energy from the entire upper body. You will squeeze the abdomen to help maintain your elevation and the hip flexors will work to keep the legs wrapped around the crook of the elbows. 

Shoulder-Pressing Pose also relies on balance, and so will be able to help you understand how the distribution of your weight can better achieve balance in the body. It is common in Bhujapidasana to lean a little forward, sticking the buttocks out slightly behind, to keep the lift in your shoulder press. 

Understanding how the body affects your balance in yoga can help when you are ready for more advanced poses, like the Pose Dedicated to Koundinya I and II.

Chakras involved in Bhujapidasana

Activate the heart chakra that radiates from the chest throughout the arms to the tips of your fingers. Also called the Anahata, this ball of energy in the centre of the chest represents your capacity for loving-kindness. Your abilities for empathy, joy, and connection with others rests within your Anahata. 

When the heart chakra is blocked, it is normal to struggle to maintain a healthy connection with others. You may doubt your place in the life of those around you, or doubt their place in yours. You could find it difficult to find happiness in the things that you once loved. To unblock the Anahata, restore its properties by bringing awareness to the chest and breathing deeply in Shoulder-Pressing Pose.

How to practise Shoulder-Pressing Pose

  1. Begin in a rough yoga squat anywhere on your yoga mat (Bhujapidasana won't take up much room). Allow the feet to come about hip-distance apart, and the heels may float upwards if that is more natural for you. 

With your legs bent and knees pointing somewhat upwards and forwards (almost touching your elbows), the buttocks will hover over the yoga mat without actually touching the ground. Your palms can come in front of you, between your legs and on the mat for stability.

  1. Shift your weight to the left side to allow the right palm to come off the ground without losing your balance. Move the right hand just behind the right foot. Allow the legs to straight, pushing your sit bone up, so that you can wrap the right leg around the right arm. Make sure your calf muscle is almost completely around the right forearm.
  2. With your buttocks still lifted, complete the same steps but on the left side. Move the left hand behind the left foot, and maneuver the left leg so it is wrapped around the left arm. Make sure the left calf muscle is on the inside of the left forearm, just like on the right side.
  3. Your heels may come directly down onto the tops of your hands as you ground the palms to your mat. Avoid pressing down into the feet, and instead, shift your weight so it is all in your upper body. This shift in weight will allow you to begin coming up off your feet into your Shoulder Pressing Pose.
  4. All of the muscles should be pressing into each other here – think of it as a 'give and take' kind of motion. This helps keep the limbs together tightly. Continue to push against the ground, away from your mat, and play with where your body sits in the pose. It is natural to lean forward and stick the bum outwards. The length of your limbs and your flexibility will come into play as you find your centre of balance.
  5. Once you have discovered your ideal resting position, breathe into the pose. Absorb positive energy from the ground into the hands, through the arms, past the shoulders, and circulating in the heart chakra within the chest. Welcome the prana in your body to remind you that you are alive and it is good to be so.
  6. To come out of Bhujapidasana, shift your weight forward slowly so the feet can meet the floor once again. With the feet stable on the ground, move your arms away from the feet into a resting pose or a table-top position.

Tips for Beginners

  1. While this is more for intermediate yogis, you as a beginner are always welcome to try if you can do so safely. If you are hesitant to do so but would still appreciate the challenge, consider saving your first Bhujapidasana try with a yoga instructor to help guide you through the pose and provide hands-on support if required (and if acceptable to you).
  2. Bring props into your practice. A yoga block placed under each foot makes it so you are already halfway towards your lift. Or, a stack of two or three blocks under the buttocks can help keep your balance once you're in the air.

Optional Props to help you practice Shoulder-Pressing Pose

  1. Consider adding blocks to your practice – yoga studios often have an abundance of yoga blocks, so if you're not taking any from someone else, feel free to grab one or two extra. You can place these blocks beneath the buttocks for your lift, or under the feet.
  2. Not exactly a prop, but helpful nonetheless, could be a wall. Try this pose with your buttocks against the wall. Use the solidness of the wall to press your body against to help keep your balance and reduce some of the pressure from your wrists by placing it towards the wall.

When to Avoid the practice of Bhujapidasana

Shoulder-Pressing Pose can be hard on the wrists as all of your weight is placed on your hands and these delicate joints. Avoid this position if you are recovering from wrist injury or have weak wrists. Speak with a medical professional before attempting Bhujapidasana.

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