Firefly: a chance to play

Sometimes I really can't stand yoga.

But hey, that's part of the journey right?

The practice of connecting to self — being open and well, reshaping inside and out — can be really challenging. Annoying. Irritating. Hard. And sometimes the postures themselves really push buttons. Buttons that might not want to be pushed.

I remember that's how I felt the first time I tried Tittibhasana, or firefly posture, a mix of big-time flexibility, strength, balance and a hefty dose of courage.

The teacher demonstrated smiling and talking on about things in sanskrit, whispering poetic things like: "feel yourself opening" and "be light from within." (And probably gave a lot of great anatomical cues. . ..) And she showed us the posture in what seemed an effortlessly acrobatic swoop.

I promptly fell on my face and twisted my thumb.

And it brought up a lot of emotions: embarrassment (did everyone see me faceplant?,) competitiveness (i wanted to figure it out!) and even a little anger (why the heck did that teacher make it look so easy when it was so hucking fard?)

And that was all part of the yoga right? Getting stirred up. Looking back inside and well, letting that stuff go.

Enjoying the process and really accepting that it's a practice not a perfect. It's a Practice, not a Perfect. It's a chance to stay flexible INSIDE and out and well, to learn how to be humble, silly and to play.

To me, that's what these crazy arm balances really teach us: how to play.

It's best to learn these in class, and to just be patient, keep trying. Keep listening to your teacher. Ask questions. And yes, be okay to laugh at yourself a little.

It's just yoga after all. Don't let it stress you out.

Here's how I get into this posture, and I only do it after a good, long, movement-based vinyasa when I'm loose and open in the hips/groin/hamstrings/shoulders/back (you get the picture) and I've done some core too (navasana/plank) and so on:

Hug the shoulders behind the 'knee pits' and engage the core, find a good active hand and try to keep elbows, wrists and shoulders in a line. Turn on your drishti or gaze:

Keep your breath strong and your eyes steady and start to shift your hips back as you simultaneously engage your inner legs and core. (And your sense of adventure!

Keep on going and keep on breathing and keep on keeping on!

In five to eight years (or more or less?) you'll find the posture and it's almost impossible not to smile when it happens. To spread your toes and enjoy a second or two of lift off.

And then it's time to rest.

Oh, and it goes without saying, the only way to exit this posture is SLOWLY and gently. Like everything, it's best enjoyed with a whole lot of being present.

And if you're practicing it inside a little dome, in the forest, on Bowen Island? Well, that doesn't hurt either.

Pics by Daniel O'Sullivan Photography

Pants by Daub Active

Dome by Nectar Yoga BnB Bowen Island

All about Firefly by Yoga Journal:

Join me at Nectar every Monday morning at 8 a.m. + every Wednesday afternoon 4:30 p.m. for flow class and serious breathing and yes, even a laugh or two.