Dragonfly Pose

Techniques for Hips and for Arm Balances

parsva bhuja dandasana

DRAGONFLY POSE

Recently, I was listening to a podcast where the founder and CEO of Spotify, Daniel Ek, mentioned the quote “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” He didn’t say it in exactly those words, but it was enough to see how well it applied to Chromatic yoga. Explaining what Chromatic yoga is in the first class of this month’s immersion (Chromatic Yoga), Matt says that instead of “achieving” a posture, you learn more about your body by understanding how to utilize it. You do this by executing the appropriate actions that inevitably make a posture accessible. How does this apply to Dragonfly Pose? Well, when broken down, the posture is a hip opener and an arm balance that also includes spinal rotation. Matt’s approach is about developing and strengthening the necessary actions within your body through practice and repetition. 

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APPROACHING DRAGONFLY POSE

Breaking it down into little pieces is the key to making this intricate and challenging pose less intimidating. If your body is not “ready/prepared/able” to combine the hip opening, spinal rotation, and arm balance all at once, you can explore the many variations Matt offers in today’s video. Exploring these variations is the perfect opportunity to kinesthetically learn and integrate the patterns for the pose in your body. With each step, more than just making the shape, you are strengthening the appropriate muscle groups in order to eventually find a more equal balance of both ease and flexibility in Dragonfly. In the full class from which this video is extracted, Matt reminds you that it’s not about making the pose easy, it’s about creating integrity during the execution. For example, if you are extremely flexible and/or hypermobile, you can make Dragonfly more sturdy with the right muscular activations. 

WATCH THE VIDEO

DRAGONFLY POSE: TECHNIQUES FOR HIPS & ARM BALANCES

TAKE IT DOWN

Creating these activations requires a generous level of exertion, making it effortful rather than easy.

In the first variation that Matt demonstrates, he removes the arm balance and takes you all the way down onto your mat. After creating the initial shape, he then introduces the use of a yoga block to assist in strengthening your adductors and hip flexors. While practicing the steps to develop strength, you acquire a deeper connection to and understanding of your body. You’ll find out where you already feel strong versus where you may need to spend more time building strength. 

There are also a number of “tiny” actions that you can practice without the intensity of the arm balance component. The flexion and direction of your feet, for example, can greatly affect your ability to maintain the positioning of the top leg in Dragonfly Pose. 

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STANDING VERSUS SEATED DRAGONFLY POSE

What’s incredible here is the variety of options Matt offers in standing and seated Dragonfly.  

Standing Dragonfly

In the first option, he layers the spinal rotation element on top of the hip opening. You also begin to introduce more of a balance component since you are standing on one leg in a “Figure 4” position. 

The final standing variation is done at the wall, through which a certain degree of balance is dialed back; however, the connection to the arm balance can begin here.  

Seated Dragonfly

While seated in a chair, you again create the Figure 4 position, along with the spinal rotation. When you’re ready to progress to the arm balance, Matt demonstrates how to use the edge of a chair. Your chair plays a vital role in that the height must be just right so as not to place too much pressure on your hip.

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BEGIN AT THE END

Part of Chromatic yoga is looking at the “end point” (in this case Dragonfly Pose) so that you can work backwards by analyzing all of the necessary pieces to work through and explore. It’s the “shooting for the moon,” if you will.  What ultimately happens as you explore and prepare your body is that you discover a great deal about your physical and mental self. You end up “landing among the stars.” You find out how you react/respond once you are faced with a physical challenge while exploring a posture. Do you work through it, or is your instinct to run? You also discover what physical actions you need to take to break through and achieve your fullest potential.

Register for Matt’s Chromatic Yoga Immersion to transform your relationship to your yoga practice so that you open the door to new possibilities.

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Article by Trish Curling

Videos Extracted From: Flow & Fly Immersion

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