How to Do Firefly Pose (Tittibhasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Firefly yoga pose
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Targets: Core, shoulders, arms

Level: Advanced

Firefly Pose is an advanced arm balance. It relies on core strength and having great flexibility in the hip flexors and hamstrings, as well as strong arms and shoulders. For the intermediate to advanced student who has learned other arm balances, this one is actually easier than it looks.

Benefits

This pose strengthens the wrists, forearms, shoulders, triceps, hip flexors, and core. It provides a stretch for the hamstrings, adductors, and outer hips. Practicing it will help improve your sense of balance. Traditionally, it is said to provide relief from stress.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Take your feet about 18 inches apart (this will vary a bit based on your size). Come into a forward bend with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Nestle your shoulders as far under your knees as you can. You can bend your knees more if you need too. It's OK if you can't get your knees all the way onto your shoulders. The thighs on the upper arms will do. 
  3. Bring your palms flat on the floor just behind your feet.
  4. Bend your elbows slightly back as you would if you were heading into Chaturanga Dandasana. Don't bring the upper arms all the way to parallel with the floor, however. 
  5. Begin to shift your weight back to rest on your upper arms. Let that slight backward momentum lift your feet up off the floor.
  6. Straighten your arms as much as possible.
  7. Straighten your legs and hug your upper arms strongly with your thighs.
  8. Flex your feet.
  9. To come out, bend your knees and tip your feet forward until they touch the floor again. (Or just sit down on your butt.)

Common Mistakes

To get the most from this pose, avoid these errors.

Not Warmed Up

Be sure that you do a thorough warmup before you attempt this pose. Stretching and using cold muscles might contribute to strain or injury.

Not Flexible or Strong Enough

Even with a suitable warmup, you may not yet have reached the level of flexibility and strength needed for this pose. Continue to practice poses that strengthen your core, shoulders, and arms.

Modifications and Variations

As with most yoga poses, there are ways to make it more accessible while you are learning it and to deepen the pose once you become proficient.

Need a Modification?

If you can lift the feet off of the floor but can't straighten your legs, try crossing the feet at the ankles in front of you. This is Arm Pressure Pose (Bhujapidasana). It also helps you get the feel for how strongly you need to hug your arms with your legs in both poses.

Up for a Challenge?

Once you have your arms and legs straight, you can begin to work on a slight variation on the pose. Shift your weight back, taking the forward slant out of your torso and bringing it into a more upright position. Your legs will come along for the ride as your toes begin to point toward the ceiling. It takes a lot of core strength here not to tip back and end up sitting on your butt.

From Firefly Pose, transition to Crow Pose by bringing your legs behind you with the knees on your upper arms. Then jump back to Chaturanga. This sequence is from the Ashtanga second series.

Safety and Precautions

Avoid this pose if you have a shoulder, elbow, wrist, or low back injury. It is an advanced pose, so be sure to get proper instruction and advice on what preparatory poses will be useful. Practice it only where it will be safe if you fall out of the pose. Balancing poses are generally not recommended after the first trimester of pregnancy.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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