|Tittibhasana: The Firefly Pose
by Barbara Benagh
I love arm balances. They have an invigorating electricity despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that they are such demanding asanas. Arm balances are also marvelous equalizers. They come easily for almost no one. Most yogis shine at something: Some are naturally strong, some flexible, while others seem born to backbend. But very few easily acquire all the skills needed for arm balances: coordination, strength, and that mysterious gift of knowing just where the body is in time and space. Most of us must practice for years to develop precision in arm balances. continued »
Sit with your legs wide apart (the outsides of the thighs should make about a 90 degree angle) and your weight centered on a line running down the back of the thighs, calves, and heels. Place your hands on the floor in front of you, keeping your head at the level of your shoulders. Release in your hip sockets and melt forward toward the floor. Do not drop your head or overround your back. As you release more deeply into the pose, reach out to hold the outer edges of your feet.
|Eka Hasta Bhujasana Variation
Sit in Dandasana (with both legs stretched straight out in front of you). Raise your right leg, bending the knee and holding the foot with your left hand. Relax the muscles around your spine and hips and exhale as you raise the leg higher and hold the calf with your right hand. Work your upper right arm under your knee as close to the shoulder as possible and place your right hand on the floor. Press your arm into the back of the leg and again relax your hips and lower back. Exhale as you slowly straighten your leg as much as possible. Hold for several long, steady breaths before repeating on the other side.
|Dwi Hasta Bhujasana Preparation
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and bend forward. Slide your right upper arm behind your right knee and hold your calf. Repeat on the other side. Gently squeeze your knees into your arms and place your hands, fingers facing forward, on the floor several inches behind your feet. If this places strain on your wrists, use a wedge or folded blanket under the heel of your hands. Exhaling, lift your hips and transfer your weight from your feet to your hands. Keep your head up and look forward. Hold this position just long enough to establish your balance, then advance to the next exercise.
|Dwi Hasta Bhujasana Variation
Begin in the previous position. Press your hands firmly into the floor and exhale as you lift your hips. Squeeze your knees toward each other as your lift your feet slightly off the floor and cross your ankles. With another exhalation, raise your hips and feet as high as possible, keeping them at the same level. Continue to look forward and breathe steadily, focusing on completing your exhalation. Hold for a few breaths before continuing to the next exercise.
From the previous position, uncross your ankles while squeezing your arms with your inner legs. On an exhalation strongly extend your legs until the knees are as straight as possible. Don’t hang at the hips! Straighten your arms as much as you can, look straight ahead, and breathe steadily. Come out of the pose by bending the knees, placing the feet back on the floor, and standing.
• Strengthens upper body, arms, and wrists
• Tones abdominal organs and muscles
• Improves concentration and coordination
• Carpal tunnel syndrome and similar repetitive stress injuries
• Acute sacro-lumbar strain
© 2001 Barbara Benagh