Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Tittibhasana is an asana in which the performer of the asana needs to assume the shape of a firefly in flight. Therefore the asana is called Tittibhasana or Firefly pose. It is an arm balance pose. This asana gives a good stretch to your arms and wrists and also strengthens your inner groins (thigh folds) and back.
Tittibhasana word meaning
Tittibha = Firefly
Asana = Pose, Posture
Preparation for Tittibhasana
- The rules for preparation are basically the same as for any other Ashtanga Yoga Asanas. You need to do this asana on empty stomach. This demands you to take your food 4-6 hours before beginning this pose. This will allow your food to get digested in the time gap provided between your food and asana. It will also provide you good energy to carry out the asana with ease.
- You should also keep your bowel and bladder empty and clean before performing this asana.
- This asana bestows good benefits if it is done in the early hours of the morning which is ideal for practicing this asana. But due to some busy schedules, if you couldn’t do this asana in the morning time, you can very well do it in the evening time.
Method of doing Firefly Pose
Positioning for the Asana
- Start with Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) pose. In this, you bend forwards by extending both your arms and rest your hands (palms) on the ground while looking at the floor, i.e. your face facing the floor or the front of your lower limbs.
Performing and getting to the Padmasana
- Once you are placed in Adho mukha svanasana, walk gradually towards your hands (on your feet) until your feet are in front of your hands. Alternatively you walk your hands backwards on the floor and gradually send your hands in the gap between your feet such that your right hand is placed behind your right foot and the left hand is placed behind the left foot such that the finger tips of both your hands are pointing towards or touching the back portion of your heels.
- Let your hands through your legs and press them behind the calves, such that you crawl deeper through your legs.
- Now bring your arms and shoulders as far behind your thighs as you can place them.
- Place your palms firmly on the ground behind your feet such that your heels are held in the angle formed by your thumb and index fingers, on both sides.
- Gently bend your knees and squat on the top of your shoulders, as closer to your shoulders as possible. This you should do as you rest the back of your legs.
- Make sure that you gradually shift your body weight on to your fingers and palms, once you spread them out.
- Now lift your feet off the floor. Straighten your legs first.
- Once you find balance and stabilize yourself, straighten your arms also.
- Squeeze your thighs against the upper arms to extend further and to gain more height.
Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start
- Hold yourself in this pose for few seconds.
- Gradually release by bringing down your lower limbs to the floor, landing your feet on the floor.
- Gradually extend your knees and release them from the top of of your shoulders. Raise your pelvis.
- Gradually walk your hands in the gap between your legs and come to downward facing dog posture.
- Gradually rise and stand up.
- Breathe freely and relax.
Tips for Beginners
It is really a tough act and to come to the Firefly pose and to be able to do it perfectly and flawlessly, it takes lot of practice and mastery over Tittibhasana. As a beginner you need to make slight adjustments until you get it going right. Sit on the floor and spread your legs in front of you making an angle of 90 degree. Then elevate your heels on a block and press your palms between your legs on the floor. You can take up the asana from this altered posture.
Purva and Paschat Asanas
Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Tittibhasana, you can do one or more of the below mentioned Asanas –
Paschat Asanas (Post-Tittibhasana Poses)
After performing Tittibhasana (as follow up poses), one can perform –
- Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Duration, health benefits
What time should be spent in the pose while doing Tittibhasana?
One can stay in Tittibhasana for 30-60 seconds at a stretch.
Health Benefits of Tittibhasana
- Tittibhasana gives the back torso and inner groins a good stretch
- The asana makes your arms and wrists strong
- The Firefly Pose tones and strengthens the belly and thus improves the digestion.
- Tittibhasana calms your mind and improves your sense of balance
Effect of Tittibhasana – Ayurveda details
Effect on Doshas
Effect of Tittibhasana on Doshas and Subtypes
Tittibhasana effectively balances the Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu and helps in keeping the mind calm and serene. It also helps in providing us a good balance.
Owing to its benefits of stretching and strengthening the abdominal muscles, Tittibhasana gives a good massage to the abdominal organs. It stimulates the digestion process and keeps the metabolism balanced. By balancing the gut doshas responsible for good digestion i.e. Samana Vayu and Pachaka Pitta, Tittibhasana aids good digestion of food.
Effect on Dhatus
Effect of Tittibhasana on Dhatus –
Tittibhasana strengthens and stretches the mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue) located in the back torso and upper limbs. It also strengthens the asthi dhatu (bone tissue), snayu (ligaments) and kandaras (tendons) and strengthens the hip joints, shoulder and wrist joints.
Tittibhasana, what it promises!
Firefly Pose is not an easy pose to perform unless one has mastered it. It need and demands exceptional strength in the upper body and strength and flexibility in the hamstring muscles of the doer. These tow qualities can be gained with practice. Once you gain strength and flexibility in the muscles needed to practice this asana to perfection, you will master the pose. There is no hurry; you can master this pose slowly. This difficult and challenging arm balance pose mimics a firefly in flight. You will find yourself at the flexible best, as if flying from your grounded level and exploring yourself and the world around, as you practice and master this pose.
Confidence of utmost quality, determination undeterred and the ability to let go will help you to take a lift, like a Firefly, into the Tittibhasana.
The asana can throw you off guard, if taken too seriously. Be confident as you gradually slip into this Firefly Yoga Pose. This will in turn help you to get the steadiness you need in the deep forward bend of the hips. You need to build up immense arm strength to support yourself and activate the legs to allow the free lift which is needed to go to the Firefly position.
Impact on Chakras
Tittibhasana calms and balances the Manipura Chakra or the 3rd chakra located around you navel, the zone of pitta and fire. It is also called Solar Plexus. By stimulating this chakra, the asana invokes self confidence, self control, emotional balance and contentment in the doer. The strength of sense of self and emotional control are enhanced when this Chakra (Manipura) is energized by Tittibhasan.
Contraindications and precautions
Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Tittibhasana)
- Shoulder Injury
- Elbow injury
- Wrist Injury
- Low back injuries
Just Before Finish
Tittibhasana apart from being a good physical workout to strengthen and stretch your lower back, groins, arms, abdomen and wrists is also a good stress buster. It is the best to calm your mind and promote a sense of balance in the doer.
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