The first time I saw this pose, I thought it was magic. Actually, I still think it's magic... but, every good magic trick has a pretty simple secret that makes it possible, n'est pas? So it is with grasshopper pose. Once you uncover a few key elements, it's not so difficult to come into, with a little practice, persistence, and a decent sense of humour.
This pose is an arm balance, a big external hip rotation, and a pretty juicy twist. So, make sure you prepare your body by working into these areas before you go for grasshopper. I recommend poses such as parivrtta parsvakonasana (revolved warrior 1), bakasana (crow pose), vriksasana (tree pose), eka pada raja kapotasana (pigeon), and parivrtta utkatasana (twisted chair).
1: From standing
Start in Tadasana, then cross your left ankle over your right thigh, so your legs are making the shape of the number 4.
Bend your standing leg a bit, inhale to lengthen your spine, exhale to begin to fold forward.
Twist to the right, hooking your left upper arm, over the sole of the left foot. Get the left foot as high up your arm as you can, and keep the foot active, toes flexed.
While pressing the left foot onto the left arm, bend your standing leg more and plant your palms down, fingers spread wide. Gaze forward of your fingertips.
You'll want to move through this step fairly quickly, as this is primetime for your foot to slip off your arm, especially if you're nice and sweaty :)
Exhale to bend your elbows, like chaturanga dandasana arms, shift your weight forward into your hands, and use your bandhas a lot!
On the inhale, extend your right leg out to the side. Keep that leg super active - press out through the heel and flex the toes towards you. Gaze at your toes take deep breaths, and enjoy.
There are lots of ways to come out of the pose (including falling, which is a totally valid option). I like to come either into navasana (boat pose) or into a variation of uttanasana (forward fold) with my shins crossed, so the outside edge of my feet come together. You can fold forward or to juice it up a little, bring your torso over to the side of the leg that is in front (so, in this photo, I'm walking my fingers over to the right, because my right leg is in front of my left). This is a great IT band stretch.
2: From seated
This is the tricky part... press your right foot onto the arm, and then press into your left foot and left hand to lift your hips up. Use your core strength and bandhas to get your butt off the ground. Plant the palms firmly down, with your fingers spread and fingertips gripping your mat.
It's common for the foot to slip here, especially if you take your sweet time moving through this step. So, don't hang out here - move to the next step!
One love, yogis! Let me know if you have any questions (or requests for future tutorials!)