Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Shoulder Pressing Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

When you are beginning to learn arm balances and feel comfortable in Bakasana, then try the Shoulder-Pressing Pose, also known as Bhujapidasana.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits


(Pronounced as "boo-jah-PEED-AHS-anna")

Bhuja is the Sanskrit word for "arm" or "shoulder," and pida is "pressure." In this arm balance, your hands take the weight of your body while you bind your legs around your arms. This pose requires preparation since it puts so much strain on the arms and requires careful positioning to perform.

How to do Shoulder-Pressing Pose

Step One

Stand with your legs about 2 feet apart. Bend your knees.

Step Two

As you bend down, reach your arms back in between your legs and put your hands behind your heels on the floor. Then stretch your arms around your legs so that your calves press into your upper arms. Press your palms into the mat next to the outsides of your feet. Your fingers should point forward with your thumbs next to your heels.

Step Three

Adjust your thighs to allow them to tuck snugly into the backs of your armpits. You can raise your heels from the mat for a while to help you adjust your thighs into this position. Lean forward and raise your hips. Your thighs should lift to become parallel to the ground.

Step Four

Take a breath. As you exhale, straighten your arms and shift your balance onto your hands. Tighten your core, squeeze your arms with your thighs and slowly lift your feet off of the floor one at a time. Balance on your hands. Lift your feet up a little higher and cross your ankles in the air, hooking the right ankle over the left ankle.

Step Five

Squeeze your knees into your arms to stop your legs from slipping down your arms. Raise your head up to look directly in front of you. Stay here for 30 seconds. Breathe normally. Then on an exhalation, bend your elbows and let your feet come down again.

Step Six

Do the pose again and cross your left ankle over the right ankle in the air this time. Hold the posture for the same duration.

Beginner's Tip:

While you are preparing to do the full pose, practice it with two folded yoga blankets on the mat under your buttocks. Adjust the height of the blankets so that you do not end up sitting on them until you are fully in the final pose, keeping them as low as possible so that you can ease your dependency off of them over time.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:


Pose Level:

Level 3

Contraindications and Cautions:

  1. Recent injuries or inflammation of the: shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists or lower back
  2. Menstruation
  3. Pregnancy

Shoulder-Pressing Pose Benefits

  1. Builds up arm and core strength
  2. Tones the abdominal organs
  3. Enhances your sense of balance

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