|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.
Arm balances include a variety of poses, including Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance), Vrschikasana (Scorpion Pose), and single-armed balances like Vasisthasana (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Vasistha, also sometimes called Side Plank). However, in most arm balances the body is balanced in a variety of difficult positions while perched atop straight arms.
One such asana is Tittibasana (Firefly Pose). It is an advanced posture that, when expressed fully, requires tremendous flexibility, strength, and concentration. (It's also visually stunning.) At first glance this asana may appear daunting or even impossible. However, as with other advanced poses, you can make progress toward Tittibhasana by learning and practicing less challenging asanas that include similar actions and movements. After all, our bodies really only engage in a few kinds of basic movements. We can bend forward or backward, left or right, or we can rotate around our core. All asanas consist of different variations on these basic themes. As your yoga practice deepens, more difficult poses require you to express these basic movements more deeply or in combination. Sometimes the practice also challenges you by asking you to turn upside down or find a difficult balance. Still, if you analyze even the most complex poses, you can always find the same familiar movements. Knowing this may not make difficult asanas easier, but it can de-mystify them and help you realize that a regular, well-rounded practice will lay the foundation of endurance, increased range of motion, and concentration that leads to greater expertise (and, perhaps, more advanced poses).
• 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