Don’t be intimidated — this pose appears to be much more challenging than it really is! Among fledgling flyers, there’s usually a mistaken notion that arm balances are all about upper body strength, when in actuality, arm balances require a combination of strength, length, openness, and of course, practice. In fact, Firefly pose (Tittibhasana) probably requires less arm strength than most arm balancing poses, but does demand a certain degree of flexibility in the hips and hamstrings. If anything, learning Firefly teaches us to accept that even though we may fall down, we can pick ourselves right back up and shine brighter than ever before.
Benefits of Firefly Pose
Firefly pose strengthens the wrists and arms, and stretches the legs, inner groins, and back body. As with any arm balancing pose, Firefly improves overall balance and encourages playfulness and courage in your practice. As the name indicates, you may also find that you come away from this pose sporting a healthy glow!
Firefly Pose Step-By-Step
- Begin in Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana). Stay here for a few breaths to stretch out the hamstrings and open up through the backs of the legs, which is actually a key ingredient in this arm balancing pose.
- From your forward fold, take the feet a little wider than hip distance apart. Take a slight bend in the knees and begin to work your shoulders behind your legs, tucking the torso between the inner thighs. Use your hands around the backs of the ankles to help snuggle the shoulders behind the knees.
- Place your hands on the floor just behind your heels, with the fingers pointed forward towards the feet. Bend the knees deeply and drop the hips down toward the ground. Ensure the fingers are spread wide and the palms are not cupped.
- Carefully begin to shift your center of gravity as if you’re sitting back into a chair. Use your arms as a “ledge” to support your body as the weight moves off your feet and into your hands — the backs of the thighs will rest on the upper arms.
- On an inhale, begin to extend the legs as much as you can, perhaps one at a time. Straighten the arms as much as possible, and keep the chest lifted and the gaze forward.
- Spread the toes and smile! You’re flying!
- Gently release the feet to the floor on an exhale and make your way back to Uttanasana.
- Crow pose is a great preparatory pose for fledgling flyers. Feel free to play around with the feeling of balancing on your hands with cushions and pillows as crash pads before attempting Firefly.
- The full extension of the legs is probably the most difficult part of this pose. Work on getting comfortable with the balance first, even if the legs are just hanging out, and then build the pose by opening up and extending the legs.
- Imagine a line drawn down the center of your body. The more firmly and actively that you hug this midline — squeezing the legs into the arms and engaging the core — the more stability and height you’ll be able to find in this pose.
- Stretching out the hips, legs and shoulders are good preparatory actions for Firefly pose. Try Eagle pose (Garudasana), low squat (Malasana), Happy Baby, Forward Fold (Uttanasana), and Butterfly (Baddha Konasana).
- If at first it’s difficult to get the palms of the hands fully on the floor, continue working on developing openness and flexibility in the groins and hips before attempting the full expression of this pose to protect the wrists.