Peak Poses Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 9

Firefly Pose

45 min - Practice


Audra guides us in a spicy sequence of hip openers, hamstring strengtheners in preparation for the arm balance Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose). You will feel challenged and ready to fly.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

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Hi yogis, welcome to your practice today. In this practice we're going to be moving towards a pose, it's an arm balance called firefly. It takes a lot of hip opening, it takes a lot of hamstring strengthening, and it's also a really beautiful pose for opening up the back line of the body. So the kidneys, the little back, the upper back. It's said to have, and light on yoga, Mr. Iyengar says that it is said to have the same effect as yoga nidrasana.

So we're going to start there, and we're going to actually start seated. You're just going to take your, lean a little bit towards the left, and then take your feet towards the right, and you're going to tuck your right foot back behind you so your heel is nice and close to your seat, and then your left foot is going to come to your right groin. And if you can, for many of us it's very hard to get the right hip on the floor, but just do your best here. And all that has to do with it's not like a good or bad thing, it's just simply how your femur sits in your hip socket. And then we'll inhale our arms and reach up into the sky, breathing in.

And exhale, take a twist away from your feet so you'll bring your right hand towards your left knee and your left hand back behind you. And then just gently draw the navel back and let your right ribs slide away from the spine. These can just move out over your left shoulder. Right shoulder actually tips a little bit forward as your left shoulder comes back, bringing the twist into the upper back. This beautiful ocean, there were dolphins here earlier, I don't know if you can see them now.

Good. And as you do that, root the right hip down a little bit more. And then from inside your pelvis, reach out through the left leg, through the inner left leg, so you kind of feel your knee move into your hand a little bit more firmly there. Good. And then release, come forward.

And then you're going to take your right leg and turn it in so that you come towards the foot and the groin and your left leg, you'll turn it out. And same thing, take a moment and nuzzle as best you can that left hip towards the floor. For many of us, it's very far away and light. And then inhale your arms up into the sky, big breath in. And exhale, you're going to take a twist over towards your right.

So always turning away from your feet in this twist. And the right hand comes back behind, left hand's on the knee. Keep snuggling that left hip down as best you can, draw the right shoulder back. Let the left shoulder tip a little bit forward. Inside your shoulder, there's this little knobby point called the coracoid, which looks like a raven's beak.

So sometimes when I'm doing this twist, you think about moving my raven's beak back and my left raven's beak forward. One more breath, draw the navel in, turn, root the left hip down. And then inhale, you're going to come all the way back towards center. And then you're going to turn your left leg in so that you come towards a bada canasana shape. And grab a block to have nearby here.

So reach back and grab it, and you just need one. But we want kind of like our baseline bada canasana. So bringing hands back behind you, you can be on fingertips. I kind of am on my knuckle pads. The chest is lifted, pressing the soles of the feet together, reach out through the inner thighs, and then from the outer knee down to the hip, draw in.

So for me, I have to look up a little bit and then sort of flex my glute, made the side of my hip to let the femur bone start to move deeper into the hip socket and the knees might lower. And just notice how much space you feel right now if it's feeling tight or if you've got a lot going on. And then we're going to use the block as a way not to make this easier, but actually to make it harder so that we can make a little bit more space in our actual pose. So you'll place the block on the thin setting right between your feet, and bring hands back behind you. And then it's that same work, press the feet into the block, reach the inner thighs apart from one another, and then from the outer knee, draw down into the outer hip and see if you can make some space.

The glute medius, it's the side of our hip that we'll use in poses like Ardha Chandrasana today. But what the glute med does is actually pull the femur deep into the hip socket. Reach out through the inner thighs, good. And then we'll release this, and then you're going to turn the block onto the mid setting. You can see where this is going.

Hands back behind you, press the feet into the block. Let's add on a little piece here so you're getting that reach from the groin out through the inner thigh, and then from outer knee down to outer hip. And then subdivide your legs so that you're reaching from that, this part kind of like where my tates meet, the gray part becomes the knee. So from mid thigh out to knee out, but then your inner thighs zip them up so they draw inwards. So you're reaching in two different directions.

We're doing that as yogis all the time, dark and light. Good. And then last one, worst one, your knees probably will be up in your armpits, your pubic bone will probably be beyond your hip points, but that's okay, serving a purpose here. So you press the soles of your feet onto the block, reach out, simultaneously draw in. Lots of metaphorical awesomeness there.

And then zip up your inner thighs, just the very inner part of your thighs and see if you can make a little bit more space, chest stays lifted. Good. And then release that and we're going to come back to our vada kanasana pose and see if yoga works, if there's any change. So soles of the feet together, draw your seat up towards your heels, hands come back behind you. And then again, reaching out through the inner thighs, from outer knee down into the hip, and then subdivide your legs into two sections.

So from the mid thigh out to the knee, reach out and then find your very inner thighs and zip them up. And many times we can get a little bit more hip opening there happening. Good. And then let's use that space that we just made. You're going to draw the knees towards one another and take your right leg wide, your left leg wide.

I like to use my hands back behind me like we were just doing, lift the hips up, stick your butt out slightly to find that tilt in the pelvis and then sit your booty down. Find the weight centered on the heel joints, reach out through the legs so you're kind of have this energetic reaching out and then gently press the ball of your feet forward. And then we'll take a twist here. So inhaling arms up into the sky and exhale twist over towards your right, bringing the right hand back behind you, the left hand towards the thigh. And then it's that same work in the upper back, but you're actively reaching the legs apart from one another.

Draw the chin in towards the front of the throat so that the back of the neck stays nice and long. Good. This pose requires a lot of strength and so it's nice actually to start on the floor so that we don't wear ourselves out before we get to the actual pose. And then inhale arms up and exhale turn over towards the left, right hand comes towards the thigh, left hand back behind you. If you have shorter arms, you can always put a prop back behind you just so you have contact with the floor.

And then left shoulder draws back, right shoulder draws forward. Keep reaching out through the legs, it's kind of a go legs, go scenario. Good. And then inhale come on back up, reach the arms up into the sky and then exhale hands to heart. Take your right knee, draw it in, take your left knee, draw it in and then we're going to transition right into our plank pose.

So turning towards the front of your mat, bringing hands down and coming straight in. All right. So from this place, shoot laser beams out of all of your fingers. Step your feet so that the inner edges of your feet meet. And then we're going to add a little twist here into our plank pose.

So you're going to drop the outer edge of your right foot towards the floor, kind of like side plank, but don't let the shoulders move that much. And then draw your sitting bones to your heels and pull your chest forward. Good. Then come back up to center, drop the outer edge of the left foot towards the floor so you're inside plank with the lower half of your body and then pull your chest forward sitting bones to heels. Good.

Come back up to plank pose and let's meet in downward facing dog. So go ahead and greet it. You can make it look like nothing you've ever done before can be weird. You can bend the elbows, you can bend the knees, just sort of feeling into your plank pose, your downward dog pose, the first one of the day, maybe. From your downward dog, inhale your right heel straight back up and behind and as you exhale, step between your hands.

Come up to fingertips and try and come to your very tippiest fingers, so not your finger pads, but the tippiest, tippiest finger. And then from here, we're going to take a little bit of low lunge cat cow. So you're going to inhale, let your chest draw forward, stand your tippies. And then as you exhale, round into your upper back, draw the navel back, forehead comes to the knee. And then inhale, exhale, strong straight back leg, one more, inhale, exhale, inhale, let the chest come forward.

And then as you exhale, skandhasana to the back of the mat, so walk the hands to the left. And for today's purposes, keep your right toes on the ground so heels and toes are out kind of like horse stance. And then there's a dance here, this is the dance of the warrior. You're going to inhale, come towards center and exhale, bend into the right knee, straight in the left leg. Hands can come to ankles if you feel comfortable, but unite it with your breath.

So it's inhale, center, exhale, bend left leg, straight and right. Inhale, center, bend, you can feel your arch lift on the straight leg, and your head kind of looks at the opposite leg, the one that's straight. And inhale, center, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, bend into the right leg, and then turn over that leg and step back to your downward facing dog. Inhale your left leg back behind you, and then as you exhale, step between your hands and come to your tippiest, tippiest fingers, and then a little cat-cow action here. So inhale, let the heart open, exhale, round, inhale, heart opens.

Inhale, round, inhale, heart opens, exhale, round, inhale, heart opens, and then it's exhale, skandhasana towards the back of the mat, heels in, toes out, and it's both feet wholly on the floor, so you can feel that arch lift. You're getting in there into the groin, you've got a nice big right squat leg. And then again, unite it with the breath, inhale, come center, exhale, bend the left leg straight in the right, inhale, come center, bend the right leg straight in the left. Hands can stay on the floor or hands can grab ankles, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, come center, exhale, lean towards the left straight in the right leg, and then frame your left foot and step back, downward facing dog. Inhale your right leg back up and behind, bend the knee, open up the hip, feel a big stretch there, lift your left armpit, push down and forward into your right hand, and then reach the leg back behind, turn the toes out so you'll feel that glute meat I was talking about kind of engage, and then you're going to cut the leg out to the side, keep it as high as you can, high hips, tuck the left leg back, and then set that baby down, yep.

Inhale the left leg straight back and behind, exhale, bend the knee, open up the hip, should feel nice, lift your right armpit, push down and forward into the left hand, and then inhale, stretch it back, and then turn the toes out to the side, feel the glute meat engage, lift the right quadricep, and then kick that leg out to the side, push into the hands, and then set that baby down, awesome. Let's stretch it out, inhale, come all the way to plank pose, exhale, come all the way to the belly, strong straight legs, rising up to your cobra, from your elbow push down into your hands, draw the navel up away from the floor, let the collarbones move up and back, inhaling, and then exhale, go ahead and lower down, tuck the toes, lift as much of your body up off of the floor as you can, so pelvis, thighs, and then push straight down into the floor to lift yourself up towards plank pose, and then stretch back downward facing dog, inhale, you're going to lift high up into your toes, you're going to bend the knees, look forward, and exhale, leap right between your hands, inhale, arda, exhale, forward fold, inhale, rise all the way up, and exhale, hands to heart center, heel toe your feet out so that you can make a little bit of room for a squat here, and you're going to try your best, we did this in another practice, in our ekapada galavasana, the flying pigeon practice, to keep your toes pointed straight forward, and then you're going to bring hands to heart, breathe in, and as you exhale, bend the knees, and find prayer squat right between your heels, and snuggle your armpits nice and down low, your thighs, press the palms, and then move your heart towards your thumbs, as you squeeze the knees in around your arms, and there's these muscles that kind of want to like, hunch in our back here, so we're really moving the heart, opening the collarbones, and pressing the chest towards the thumbs, ground the inner edge of the foot if you feel it getting light, to get the inner line of the leg working, mm-hmm, more breath here, good, fingertips down, fold in, extend the spine long, exhale, fold, and then inhale, start to rise all the way up, and exhale, hands to heart center, good, okay, one round of surya namaskar b variations, inhale, reach your arms up, exhale, bend the knees, touch your hands back behind your heels, inhale, lift the chest, exhale, forward fold, inhale, extend the spine, exhale, hop back, chaturanga, upward facing dog, inhale, exhale, downward facing dog, inhale, the right heel straight back, exhale, step between your hands, back heel turns down, inhale, rise up, warrior bat, touch palms if you can, breathe in, exhale, hands back behind you, inhale, heart high, exhale, devotional warrior bat wing, inhale, exhale, drop your head, inhale, exhale, slowly start to touch the hands down to the floor, stay deep into that right knee, breathe in, warrior one, reaching up, exhale, hands all the way down to the floor, take your vinyasa, down dog, inhale, the left heel straight back up, exhale, step between your hands, inhale, warrior one rising up, exhale, non-dominant clasp back behind you, pull the heart open, inhale, bow, inhale here, it feels like you're holding someone else's hand, exhale, take what you can get and let your head move more towards your ankle, good, breathe in, then as you exhale, slowly start to sweep the hands across the floor and then breathe your hands up into the sky, inhaling, exhale, hands all the way down to the floor, vinyasa, down dog, ever breaths here, inhaling, exhaling, inhaling, sitting bones up and back, inhale, lift into your toes, bend the knees, look forward, exhale, hop right between your hands, arda uttanasana, exhale, fold, bend the knees deeply, last utkatasana, inhale, lift up, exhale, hands to heart center, standing up, we're going to come to tree pose next, bring your hands to your hips, take your right knee up towards your chest, turn the leg out, take the right hand to the inner right ankle and then place the leg as high up as you can, very much like arda uttanasana leg into your left groin, pause there with your hands on your hips, tone your inner left thigh until you can feel it with your right heel and then bring hands to heart and inhale arms up into the sky, palms face one another, shoulder blades reaching into the hands like downward facing dog, turn your inner right heel forward to open up the hip a little bit more, zip up the inner thighs and pull energy from your outer right knee into your outer right hip, keep this happening, lower hands down to heart center, put a little bend into your left knee, bring your left hand to hip and then hook your first two fingers around your right big toe and then take the leg out, kind of like standing half happy baby, very much like standing half happy baby and then curl your right sitting bone towards the front of your mat as you start to reach the right leg long, left arm might come up or out to the side, straighten the leg as best you can, keep curling that right hip under, notice if the left femur is moving to the front of the hip socket and move it back, good, release, come down, that's a lot, two standing balance poses in a row, your left hip is probably burning so let that go, bring hands to hips, take your left hand and start to thread it down as you lift your right knee towards your inner left ankle, turn the leg out like standing half happy baby and then from there bring the foot in towards your groin, with hands on hips, tone your inner right thigh until you can feel those muscles working right against your left heel and you can kind of find a little traction of pushing back there, hands come to heart, inhale, reach arms up above your head, try and keep the gaze right at the horizon, reaching shoulder blades towards your hands, strong belly turn the inner left heel forward, tone that inner right thigh, find the right big toe knuckle, keep it firmly on the floor and then hands are going to come back down to hips, right hand will stay on your hip, bend into the right knee, catch your first two fingers around your left big toes and then back to that half happy baby stage, from there curl your left hip forward and start to straighten the leg out to the side, notice if the right femur wants to dip forward and see if you can instead let the right femur draw back, reach the right arm up or out to the side, curl the left hip forward, big strong pose here, inhale, exhale, release and shake it out, inhale arms up into the sky, exhale forward fold, inhale, arda uttanasana, extend, exhale, hop back, take a vinyasa, clear it out, upward facing dog, exhale downward facing dog, if you like a block for trachonasana or arda chandrasana grab it now please and have it right by the right side of your mat and we'll use it in the next little bit, inhale your right heel straight back up, exhale step between your hands, inhale high lunge shape come on up all in one piece, exhale warrior two, open it up, good, pausing here for a moment, for me this is my pose where I would prefer not to do it, for whatever reason I would rather leave and go to the bathroom or something during class but we're just gonna stay here for a moment, go ahead and let the left hip tip a little bit forward so you can draw long into the outer right thigh, you might come up onto your right big toes and let the hip sink a little bit more and then replant the heel, good, strong belly, strong arms, broaden the front of the heart, the back of the heart and then inhale start to straighten into your legs and then as you exhale let the hip shift back to the back of the room, back of your mat as your fingertips come down to the outside of your right leg and then for this pose the way that we're gonna work the front leg and triangle is you're gonna find your big toe knuckle and from your big toe knuckle you're gonna pull energy up all the way to your pubic bone on the inner line of the leg, so it's kind of like that zipping up the inner thighs, you can soften your inner left thigh and maybe come a little bit lower to the ground, good, bring the right hand to the hip, look down and forward, you're gonna bend into that right knee, hop the left foot in and then it's right hand down, left leg up, coming to your artichandrasana shape and then you've got that outer hip toning happening again here, strong straight right leg, you might free the gaze from the floor for a moment and then it's gonna be all the way to the back of the mat finding that skandhasana shape that we already did, so stepping back, back, back, back, back and then sweeping the arms towards the left, left knee is bent, right leg is straight and then coming through to center, heels in, toes out, you're gonna place your elbows on the inner thighs, I call this old softball guy pose because it reminds me of my many, I played softball until like I was a bit embarrassingly old, like dedicated, we traveled, this reminds me of my coaches but you're in this beautiful stretch to the grains here and you can sort of like move back and forth, it feels kind of witchy too, like there's a pot here where something's boiling, and then fingertips come to the ground, straighten the legs, turn the toes so that they face forward and then you're gonna catch a clasp back behind your back, bend the knees again slightly, move the inner thighs apart from one another and then straighten the legs, take the clasp up and over, good stuff, notice if the shoulders are coming in towards your neck and see if you can make some space there even if it pulls you up and out of the pose that's fine, release your hands, walk your hands towards the front of the mat, find a low lunge, your body's like yay and then downward facing dog, inhale please your left leg straight back up and behind and exhale to step between your hands, high lunge shape, inhale rez all the way up, exhale warrior 2 opening it up, so then we stay here for a moment, so letting the right hip tip a little bit forward so you can get long on the outer left thigh, you might come up onto left toes, drop the hip down and then release the left heel back towards the floor, breathing, another couple breaths, really press the left heel down into the floor and then breathe your left leg straight, take an inhale, exhale let the hips shift back towards the back of your mat as you bring your left hand down back behind your shin, right arm up to the sky for triangle pose and then find the big toe knuckle on that left foot and pull energy from the big toe knuckle all the way up towards your pubic bone, right inner thigh softens so you might lengthen out through that left lung a little bit more, right hand to hip, look down and forward bend into the left knee, hop your back foot in slightly and then it's left hand down right leg up, when you're steady strong straight left leg you might release that right arm up into the sky, release the gaze from the floor if you're feeling like it and then it's going to be skandhasana all the way to the back of the mat so heels in toes out, sweep the arms to the right, big squat in that right leg, big stretch to the inner left thigh and then release the hands towards center, turn the heels in and the toes out and then release your elbows to the inner thigh and then again you can just get a little bit moony here letting yourself move intuitively, finding space in the inner thighs, place fingertips down on the floor, turn your toes so that they point forward, straighten the legs for a moment, make sure both feet toes are pointing all forward, you don't want to start to pigeon toe or externally rotate your feet because then you're strumming the same hamstrings all the time, you really want to make sure that the feet are like in line with the edges of your mat and then bend the knees slightly, take non-dominant clasp, move the inner thighs apart from one another and then straighten the legs and fold, high. Release hands to the floor, walk your hands towards the front of the mat, frame the left foot, take an inhale, this time exhale, step back, take a vinyasa, stretch out your belly and downward facing dog, alright, one last big standing pose before we come to our final shape, you're going to reach your right heel straight back up and behind and step to the outside of your right hand and then you're going to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, your right toes forward, it's actually really good for our arches to do that and then you're going to tuck your right shoulder underneath your right leg and back leg is working really hard just like those little lunges we did earlier and then maybe you might reach your arms out, lean into your right shin and find flying pigeon or flying lizard, good. Release hands back down, pause, lean into it a little bit more, strong back leg and then undo, step back, down dog. Inhale the left leg straight back, exhale, step between the hands or sorry to the outside of your left hand and then wiggle those left toes forward and then snuggle your left shoulder kind of like you're putting on a backpack underneath that left leg and then lean forward into it, you might release the left hand, you might release the right hand trying to find your flying lizard, pause fingertips back on the ground, lean a little bit more into it moving that chest forward kind of like the plank pose twist we did earlier and then release and it's going to be downward facing dog.

Okay friends, so you're going to widen your feet so that their pinky toes are more towards the edges of your mats and then you're going to bend the knees and you're going to look beyond the hands and what I want you to practice doing is jumping into a squat but with your feet beyond your hands like they just were in that lizard pose so look forward and then hop beyond the hands, it's kind of fun and then we'll try that again so go ahead and step back to your down dog and then you're going to look forward, bend the knees and then hop beyond the hands and then here we are in this sort of undignified shape, you're going to take your right leg and sneak your shoulder under it and then you're going to take your left leg and sneak your shoulder under it kind of like putting on a backpack, bend the toes forward as best as you can, find that big toe and then for me over time I've learned to point my fingers forward but some of you might find it a little bit easier to point your hands outward towards the edges of your mat but you do your best and then it's a leaning back and then hug the knees in towards your shoulders and maybe your feet might come up off of the floor, keep the butt low that's what kind of makes the action of letting your feet come up off the floor and then it's a squeezing the inner knees towards the shoulders, your butt will start to lift and then you straighten the legs out, out, out, out, push the floor away, move your chest forward, big lift of the navel and then release, sit your booty down and stretch your legs out, find dandasana, take a couple of breaths and we're going to approach it one more time with our hands on blocks, we did all that preparation, we may as well give it another go, so grab your blocks, this will feel really nice, place them at the edges of your mat, swing your legs back around and place them on the flat setting with hands on blocks and then step back to your downward facing dog, downward facing dog with hands on blocks is one of the best things ever, stretch the belly, reaching, it's like having extra long go-go gadget arms, I just aged myself and then you're going to take your blocks and narrow them, make sure that they're lined up nice and even and then it's going to be the same action, so widen the feet so that your pinky toes are nice and wide, bend your knees, take your chest back towards your feet and then leap so that your feet move beyond your blocks as best you can, whoa, I forgot to mention that it feels kind of like more like flying when your hands are on the blocks and then put your backpack on, so get your knees as close to the shoulders as possible, hands are on the blocks and then you're going to lean back but drops, toes might lift, press down into the blocks and then as you're ready it's like go, legs, go, point the toes and your booty might lift, be careful coming down off of the blocks, set them to the side and then find your dandasana shape once more, legs are long, chest lifts, big breath, the diaphragm, the front of the diaphragm gets a little bit wound up there sometimes but the back of the diaphragm has lots of space and then you're going to spin your heels to one side, come to sit vadrasana, heels together and reach your arms out by your sides, take your fingers and point your fingers like one big flipper, dolphin flipper, down towards the floor and reach along across the front and the back of your heart to stretch your wrists, as if your fingers could touch the bottom of your wrist there, feels nice and then reach out and do the other way, press the floor away, that's the position we've been in a lot and then again this way as if your fingers can touch the bottom of your wrists and that stretching across the front and the back of the heart is really for me what makes this pose interesting and then bring hands down, we're going to take puppy pose on antasana, so toes together, knees nice and wide, stretching our shoulders you're going to walk the hands forward, let the chin rest on the floor, let the heart rest on the floor and if you're pretty backbending here, try not to let the arms sink, instead press the palms and lift your arm bones up away from the floor as the heart melts down. Walk the hands back and you're going to come down onto your backs and please have one block right next to you, you're going to extend your feet long, this is like the really yummy treat after all that work, you're going to take your block on its mid setting and place it right back behind your head so that the edge of the block goes right into the occiput where your spine goes up into your skull, that little hole and then feet long, arms down by your sides and you can let the gaze turn over towards the right and when the block touches that big bone behind your ear, that mandoid process, if you nod a little bit yes, you get this lovely massage there. And then take it over to the other side, find that big bony place right back behind the ear and then you can nod your head and then come back to center, just let the chin tuck in towards the chest and maybe there's something else you find in there that feels nice that you want to get in and do some work on, go ahead, otherwise just letting the back of the neck lengthen and the breath settle. When you're ready and you feel like you've gotten what you can get out of that, gently draw the chin in towards your chest so your head lifts off the block, set it to the side and come down for your Shavasana. All right.


So much sweaty fun! Thank you for the impeccably instructed, focused hip work. Flying lizard! Firefly! All your sequences take us lovingly and methodically toward the possible.
Audra Carmine
Thank you Lori ! You're feedback is always so kind and lovely. xoxo
Well,Audra Carmine you're awesome. Thanks.

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