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Bhujapidasana (Arm Pressure) & Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose) – Overview

Lesson Overview

  • Features: Bhujapidasana (Arm Pressure Pose) and Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose)
  • Bhujapidasana Naming Confusion: In some cases, Bhujapidasana may be called Shoulder Pressing Pose. However, the translation is Arm Pressure Pose. Eka Hasta Bhujasana (translated as Leg Over Shoulder) is also sometimes called Shoulder Pressing Pose.
  • Tittibhasana Naming Conventions: In Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual, David Swenson calls the posture described here Tittibhasana A and goes on to describe Tittibhasana B, C and D which are not arm balances but rather very intense bound standing forward bends.
  • Objective: Become knowledgeable about the poses and review detailed teaching considerations.
  • Description: Explain the Sanskrit naming; contraindications and cautions; associated benefits and typical effects; instructions and cues for setting up and practicing the pose; variations to meet particular intentions and needs; and more teaching considerations.

Bhujapidasana

boo-ja-pi-dah-sana

“bhuja” = arm

“pida” = pressure

Arm Pressure Pose

Tittibhasana

“tittibha” = fly or insect

Firefly Pose

Also known as: Insect Posture

Heart of Pose

Arm Balance

Notes on Bhujapidasana

  • There are many variations, ways of moving into pose and intermediate steps that can be used as stopping points.
  • The full pose is expressed differently by different sources; we’ve noted some of the different ways of teaching the pose in Basic Form (menu above).
  • Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose) can be used to prepare the hips and back.
  • Beryl Bender Birch notes that Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) is a counterpose for Bhujapidasana. In Baddha Konasana “you are pressing the thighs out and down, thus stretching the adductors and working or contracting the abductors, just the opposite of what you did in [Bhujapidasana].” (Power Yoga 1995 p 175)

Notes on Tittibhasana

Just Have Fun With It

A pose like tittibhasana (firefly pose) can derail the most earnest practitioner if she takes the process too seriously. This challenging arm balance both requires and cultivates shraddha and virya. To execute the posture with steadiness and ease, you must commit, with confidence, to a deep forward bend at the hips; work up ample arm strength to support the pose; and activate the legs with enough energy to facilitate the lift and bring lightness to the back body, so you experience a sense of “taking flight.” Don’t get discouraged: very few people can do this pose the first time they try. Just have fun with it. – Christina Sell, Yoga International, A Challenging Balance Pose: Tittibhasana  link

Forces Forward & Back and Up & Down

Tittibhasana is a symmetrical posture that shifts the center of gravity forward from Bakasana. The forward extension through the feet is constrained backward by the outward push of the arms against the thighs. There is also an upward lift of the torso against the downward pull of gravity. – Ray Long, Anatomy for Arm Balances and Inversions  2010 p 62  link

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