How to Do Shoulder-Pressing Pose in Yoga (Guide to Bhujapidasana)

Shoulder-Pressing Pose is a yogic arm balance that involves wrapping your thighs around the outside of the upper arms, which gave the pose its name. It’s a multifaceted asana with a multitude of physical and emotional benefits.

“Practicing this pose is a sure way to build strength in so many parts of your body,” says Yoga Answered contributor Cat Harvey. “It takes an immense amount of focus to perform Shoulder-Pressing Pose, but the strength you gain in return is invaluable.”

Shoulder-Pressing Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Bhujapidasana
Pose Type: Arm Balance Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Advanced pose
Targets: Wrists, arms, shoulders, chest, and core
Benefits: The balancing nature of this pose invokes concentration and sharp focus. Practicing Shoulder-Pressing Pose regularly can help you condition the mind for stillness and meditation. As you’re balancing on your hands, you’re strengthening the wrists, arms, shoulders, and chest. If you practice activities that require a lot of pulling (rock climbing, rowing, weightlifting), this pose can be used for opposition training. As you fold forward and lift the legs, your hips get stronger, and your glutes are stretched. Finally, practicing this pose results in a stronger core.
Preparatory Poses: Seated Forward Bend Pose, Standing Forward Bend Pose, Boat Pose, Tortoise Pose, Plank Pose, Crow Pose

How to Do Shoulder-Pressing Pose Step-By-Step

  1. From a standing position, widen your stance but keep your feet facing forward.
  2. Bend the knees and sink the hips back. Bring your chest forward, as close to your thighs as possible.
  3. Reach your arms on the inside of each shin and place your palms behind your heels. Bend your elbows to accommodate your wrists. Keep your palms and elbows shoulder-width apart.
  4. Carefully sink your hips even further, resting them on a “shelf” you made with your upper arms. Shuffle your heels towards one another until you can cross your ankles.
  5. Engage mula bandha, zip up your core, and lift your feet off the ground. Press your thighs into your upper arms.
  6. Find your balance and stay here for 3-5 breaths. To exit, shift your weight back and bring your sit bones to the floor.

Beginner’s Tip

Before attempting this pose, you will need to work on several aspects of your practice. First, practice asanas with a primary focus on forward bends. This should help you develop enough flexibility to bring your arms far enough to rest your weight on them. Then, there’s a combination of core strength and hip flexor strength. Training those parts of the body will help you lift your feet off the ground without assistance. Finally, to succeed at arm balancing, you need to condition your wrists and strengthen the upper body. Focus on poses where you must bear weight through your hands. When it’s time to put it all together, don’t rush. Take it one step at a time and modify it as needed.

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