Yoga expert Heidi Kristoffer shows you how to master this yoga pose with ease
Shoulder press may look intimidating, but don't be fooled. It's a super fun arm balance for anyone to play around with. The pressing of your legs into your shoulders (and vice versa) makes it relatively easy for most people to support themselves with their own two hands—pretty fun!
To move into arm balances and "trickier" yoga poses with ease, it's important to warm up the muscles you'll be using. For shoulder press pose, this means opening up your hips, shoulders, and hamstrings, as well as activating your core. Some of my favorite poses to do this include: butterfly seated forward bend (left), wide-legged seated forward bend (middle), and forward fold with hands clasped (right).
Hold each of these poses for a few slow breaths, and then try some Kundalini frogs to get everything warm and moving.
For Kundalini frogs, start in a squat with you heels together and toes apart, balancing on the balls of your feet. Your knees should point out to either side, with your fingertips on the ground or blocks (fingertips as opposed to hands for extra length).
Take a deep inhale in your squat position, and on your exhale, keeping your feet as they are, lengthen your legs (don't lock out your knees, though!), and bring your hips high. Inhale back to your original squat position, with your feet the same. That’s one rep. Keep repeating for 20 to 30 repetitions at an easy, smooth pace, until your body is very warm.
To get into the arm balance, come into your wide-knee squat and breath with your elbows inside your thighs for a few deep breaths.
Place your hands on the ground, lift your hips, and lengthen your legs. Grab the back of your ankles from the insides of your legs and nestle your shoulders underneath your thighs.
From there, take your left hand to your left butt cheek and your right hand to your right butt. You are now in the prep pose: "grab-asana!"
Place your hands on the ground (or blocks for a slightly more accessible option) behind your heels (fingertips facing your heels, wrist creases in one long line) as you bend your knees. Make a shelf for your legs with your arms and sit on your upper arms/shoulders (you can slightly bend your elbows to do so). Cross your ankles, squeeze your thighs into your shoulders, and lift your heels off the ground.
And there you are! Shoulder press pose!