How to master the Firefly Pose
Place a crash pad, I mean a blanket, behind you (just in case). Starting from malasana (squat), place your hands on the mat in front of your feet and lift the sit bones, folding over with bent knees. Walk your hand back behind your feet fingers pointing forward.
Like all arm balance poses, spread the fingers wide and pull the thumb back in a little, gripping the mat feeling the fingers evenly engaged. Squeeze the thighs into the triceps.
Slowly release your weight onto the hands, and then extend through the feet and legs.
Once there, lift belly into spine; the sit bones lift parallel to floor; gaze goes up and arms straighten out. Gazing down always pulls energy down; look up.
Start with one breath and build to five smooth ujjayi breaths. Release the way you went in – feet to floor – and pause in malasana.
Or, if you fall back, it’s not far: it might be fun and it’s how we learn to pick ourselves up again. Congratulations, you can now join the circus!
My practice started 28 years ago through dance, giving me a respect and appreciateion for the necessity of flexibility. Shortly thereafter I was introduced to Transcendental Meditation, and yet another journey began with a Zen Master. It was inevitable that I would gravitate to yoga. After years of focusing on spiritual growth, it was exciting to expand the physical again in conjunction with it.
Studying with Carlos Castaneda was a huge influence on me. Tensegrity was the main practice, opening up the lines of energy in the body i.e.: the ligaments, fascia, tendons and meridians, as well as delving into the dreaming body to transcend the physical world. Dreaming is another world, and in the end balance is what it’s all about.
I realized that the time had come for me to lead. For three years now I’ve been teaching what I hope is a little more than a hatha flow class, with a lighthearted approach to the practice of yoga and the importance of living with the fullest consciousness possible. Bringing the depth of my knowledge for creating the proper intent for each student is crucial. It’s important o know that a pose a thousand years old has intent already manifest in it, and to focus how that intent applies to each individual.
I still ask myself what I’m reaching for: Spirit, God, Energy, Freedom, Love, Compassion. On and on it changes, and it’s sweet. Yoga poses have power in so many ways. It’s beautiful how it transforms from one practice to the next.
I love the challenge of an arm balance pose, as it requires so much from the practitioner, open wrist, strong fingers, arms, core strength and of course focus on breath, intention and a calm mind. It’s very meditative for me, one is forced into being in the moment, and it takes all of one’s attention. To teach it is exciting, to see a student approach this difficult posture, and from one try to the next progress as courage and focus blossoms is such a thrill. First timers often get to giggling upon releasing from the pose.
Like handstand it builds courage. I encourage students to try for even one breath to start, then rest and try it again – to get a glimpse first of the strength and energy required to assume it, and then to build from there.
Dana Marcoux teaches at Santa Monica Yoga, Silverlake Yoga and the LA Athletic Center – yogidana.com