Tittibhasana (also known as the firefly pose)
Tittibhasana is an advanced arm balancing pose from the Ashtanga Intermediate Series involving strength, flexibility, balance and a whole lot of Tapas (aka determination). As intimidating as it looks, it is not impossible. I mean how many asanas and mind-blowing Yoga phenomena have taught us that already?(Interesting reads: Mind-blowing article #1 | Mind-blowing article #2)
Nelson Mandela once said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.” What you perceive to be impossible is merely an illusion and restriction of the mind. In this moment, this complicated asana may seem “impossible”, but we all know it’s possible especially with hard work and discipline in our yoga practice. You will come to master the “impossible” with due diligence and that is what makes yoga so empowering at times. Yada yada; Clichés and a measly attempt at a TedTalk aside… Of course, understanding the inner workings and breakdown can take you one step closer in succeeding as well.
Let’s talk anatomy.
In Tittibhasana, various muscles are activated such as the:
Abdominal muscles (transversus abdominal, internal oblique, external oblique, rectus abdominus) in lifting your pelvis and maintaining slight flexion (rounding) in your spine.
All of your rotator cuff muscles (subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor) are activated, stabilising your arms. The anterior deltoids and pectoralis help lift your body.
Triceps (agonists in your arms) and forearms.
- Hip flexors
Psoas and rectus femoris to maintain flexion of the hips and raise the legs.
The adductor group muscles (pectinus, longus, bravis, gracilis, magnus) to hug your thighs around your arms and prevent them from slipping.
Fire up those muscles and take flight.
For the visual learners:
(Credits: High Desert Yogi)
Steps as easy as 1,2,3 😉:
- IN – Start in Tadasana (standing)
- EX – Fold forward. With bent elbows, bring shoulders behind bent knees; press back of knees into shoulders. Place palms flat on the ground with fingers pointing forward.
- IN – Protract shoulder blades, push palms into the ground and straighten arms.
Internally rotate femurs, hugging thighs around arms, lift the feet up away from the floor, and straighten legs to Tittibhasana.
- Dristi (gaze): nose tip
Safety first! Practice some Swadhyaya; know thyself.
Attempt this advance asana at your own risk.
Novices are advised to first work on strengthening said muscle groups above, flexibility of antagonist muscle groups (ie hamstrings, outer hips) and even agonists adductor muscles (especially gracilis and magnus). Patience, you will get there!
High Desert Yogi: https://youtu.be/xatM_sabgvI