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Arm Balance Yoga Poses

Firefly Pose

Want to fly? Fire up your core. Firefly pose is an arm balance pose that requires more core strength than arm strength.

Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose) is a demanding posture. Lifting your pelvis while bringing your thighs parallel to the floor requires a strong core, hip flexors, and arms. It also calls for energy and concentration. That might be why yoga teacher Kathryn Budig suggests saving it for days when your energy is high and you feel really strong.

In this pose, your legs extend forward like a firefly’s antennae. But that’s not the posture’s only connection to it’s namesake. Fireflies glow from within, and this pose invites you to do just that. So harness your inner energy, and get ready to shine.

Firefly Basics

Sanskrit: Tittibhasana (tit-tee-BHA-sah-nah )

Pose type: Arm balance

Targets: Upper body

Why we love it: “Each time I’ve come into anything approximating Titibasana, or Firefly Pose, it’s taught me patience (not to mention humor!) regarding my own practice,” says Yoga Journal senior editor Renee Schettler. “It’s the sort of balancing posture that requires strength and flexibility and trust and an unflinching willingness to fall. The pose challenges and reminds me of where I still need work. And, with each attempt, it brings me some appreciation for how far I’ve come, if even in my willingness to try again.

It also reminds me of the artistry in the intelligent sequencing of my teachers. When a class is structured such that the body is repeatedly stretched and challenged and opened in all the necessary ways by introducing the requisite shape and effort again and again in different postures, the pose that once seemed so challenging seems like an almost intuitive next posture. It’s at that point, and not before, that you’re able to do the pose. Or, if you’re me, almost do it.”

Join Outside+ today to learn more about this—and other—yoga poses, including other expressions of this classic arm balance. 

Pose benefits

Firefly pose stretches the hamstring, groin, and back torso, improves hip flexibility, opens the chest, and helps you find new strength and perspective.

Firefly Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Start in a Standing Forward Fold, with your toes pointing slightly out and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Take your right hand through your legs to clasp your right calf, placing your right shoulder behind your right knee. Place your right hand on the floor behind your heel with fingers facing forward.
  3. Repeat this process on the left side.
  4. Tilt your chest forward carefully lower your legs onto the backs of your upper arms.
  5. Inhale and straighten your legs. Press through your big toe mounds.
  6. Hold the pose for 15 seconds or longer, then release your feet to the floor with an exhale.

Beginner’s tip

While you’re building up arm strength, you can approximate this pose by sitting on the floor, legs spread to a ninety-degree angle, elevating each heel on a block, and pressing your palms into the floor between your legs.

Teaching Tittibhasana

These tips will help protect your students from injury and help them have the best experience of the pose:

  • It’s important to warm up for this pose. Invite students to warm up their legs, hips, and core with a few rounds of Sun Salutation. Cue them to take Cat-Cow Pose after their first Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Then have them weave the following poses into their Sun Salutation vinyasa: Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge), Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose) with the back heel lifted, and High Lunge. After the final Down Dog in the last round of their Sun Salutes, invite them to take Malasana (Garland Pose) for 5 to 10 breaths to open their lower back and spine.
  • Students with shoulder, elbow, wrist or low back injuries should avoid or limit this pose, or take a variation—like the one below.

Firefly Variation

Preparatory Poses

Garudasana (arms only)

Malasana

Bakasana

Baddha Konasana

Follow-up Poses

Uttanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

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