Thursday, November 27, 2014

Yin Yoga - Dragonfly Pose


The ultimate message of Dragonfly pose is as Paulo Coelho says on p.23 of the Alchemist
". . . people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what the dream of"

Dragonflies are insects with large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, an elongated body and six legs.  Dragonflies are among the fastest flying insects in the world. They amazing feats include flying backwards, change direction in mid-air and hovering for up to a minute.

They are found around marshes, lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands because their eggs hatch into aquatic larvae, known as "nymphs.”   Most of a dragonfly's life is spent as a naiad (nymph), beneath the water.

The larval stage of dragonfly’s life may last from two months to five years depending on the species. When the naiad is ready to metamorphosis into an adult, it climbs an emergent plant and the exposure to air causes it to breathe. With the exposure and breath, the skin splits open at a weak spot and the adult dragonfly crawls out of its larva.

In flight, the dragonfly can fly in six directions; upward, downward, forward, back, and side to side. The adult life of a dragonfly can last up to six months.  The dragonfly is best known for its beautiful colors and the sparkling properties of its body and wings.

In China, the dragonfly is associated with prosperity, harmony and as a good luck. The dragonfly represents the Confucian ideal of pureness of character.    In Japan, dragonflies are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness, and they often appear in art and literature, especially haiku.

Samurai have used them as a symbols of power, agility and victory. For the Navajo, it is the symbol of pure water. For the Mayan, the dragonfly is the emblematic animal of the goddess of creativity, Ix Chel. It is said that the dragonfly’s wings and magical songs revived her after she almost got killed. In Yin

Yoga, the dragonfly pose combines the water and fire elements.

By holding dragonfly pose, we open to the energy of transformation and self-evolution. The dragonfly inspires us to bring out the changes that we need to make in life to reach our potential.  It also calls us to except the aging process and mature and stay open and adaptable in our personal journey.  The dragonfly reminds us to bring lightness and joy into our lives.

You can call on the dragonfly’s power when you’re stuck in a situation and need assistance to gain a new perspective. The solution might lay in your ability to adapt and tackle the issue from a different angle

Dragonfly's show us how we can make changes later in life. There is always time to transform!!!!


Self-Realization - The dragonfly uses its power to elegantly control its movements.  Throughout its life it changes and evolves.  The dragonfly is able to be comfortable on water, land, and in the air. –

Lightness- The dragonfly is known for its fast flight and their dazzling aerial feats, as if imitating how light itself can be moved and directed. 

Metamorphosis, Change and transformation -  The dragonfly represents transformation embodied in its life story. The first year of so of a dragonfly’s life is lives in water as a nymph.  Then it metamorphoses into a flying creature.  As it matures the dragonfly also changes colors.

Adaptability – Dragonflies twist, turn, change directions in an instant, hover, move up or down, and even fly backwards.

Joy, lightness of being

Vision/Limitlessness - 80% of the insect’s brain power is dedicated to its sight.  It can see in all 360 degrees.  This vision symbolizes the uninhibited potential of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self.

Pure Water

Transformation- Dragonfly is one of nature's shape shifters. The dragonfly inhabits two realms, air and water.

Being in the Moment - The dragonfly lives most of its life in water as a nymph. It flies only for a fraction of its life.

Introspection/Self-Reflection - Dragonfly has the ability to reflect and refract light. The number 2 is significant to Dragonfly, so think in terms of two-year periods when you begin a change.

Self-Discovery -   Dragonfly’s metamorphosis from sea insect to flying insects. As water represents the emotional body and air represents the mental, those with this power animal will frequently find themselves trying to maintain balance between their thoughts and emotions.

Illusion - Just as light can bend and shift and be adapted in a different ways, so can the archetypal forces associated with dragonfly. Dragonfly yields the message that life is never what it appears to be. When we have made ourselves believe that the limitations of physical existence prevent us from changing and growing. Dragonfly can cause us to question the illusion which we call reality, particularly that part of our realities which hinders our ability to grow and create transformation/change in our lives. Dragonfly conveys knowledge about greater dimensions of reality, and helps us travel to a realm of light and color in which spiritual expansion is possible

Fantasy/Magic/Mysticism - With their shimmering wings and delicate form, they appear to come directly from the land of Faerie. Their rainbow wings remind us we live in a world of magic.

Maturity - As the dragonfly moves from nymph to flying insect it’s live because more exciting an active. Their spectacular colors shine with iridescence in the sunlight also take time to develop, giving the idea that with maturity our own true colors come forth.

Swiftness- Dragonflies can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour when flying. They can spot movement forty feet away. Flying around and into things from different angles, they challenge rigid awareness and prompt the energy of change

Changeability/Maneuverability - Neither insects or birds have the flight maneuverability of the dragonfly. They can twist, turn, move up or down, change directions in an instant, hover and even fly backwards. Dragonflies are masters at what they do, and they do it relentlessly.

Openness - his power animal is especially helpful for those who feel stuck, or are unable to grow spiritually and for those who feel blocked in their creativity. Dragonfly helps us remember that 'ordinary, everyday physical reality isn't all that is available to us

Benefits of the Dragonfly Pose -

Stretches the hamstrings

Opens the hips and groin

Helps blood circulation in the pelvic region

Provides a gentle opening to the inner knees

Stimulates the ovaries

Controls and regulates the menstral flow

Prevents hernias and helps with mild hernias

Can relieve sciatica pain


Can aggravate sciatica. If you have this condition, elevate the hips. Beware of hips rotating backward while seated; we want them to rotate forward.

If you have any lower back disorders which do not allow flexion of the spine, then do not allow the spine to round: keep the back as straight as you can.

If you have any inner knee trauma or issues, bring the legs closer together or tighten the top of the legs (the quadriceps) to engage the kneecaps.

Getting Into the Pose:

From a sitting position, spread your legs apart until they won't go any further. Sitting on a cushion will help tilt your hips. Fold forward, resting your weight into your hands with your arms locked straight, or rest your elbows onto a block or a chair


Use bolster or block to raise hips.

Can keep hands behind the back, or rest elbows on a bolster.

Folding over one leg increases spinal and hamstring stretch.

If the knees feel bothered, tighten the quadriceps to close the knee joint or bring legs closer together.
If hamstrings feel too tight, bend the knee(s) and place a bolster or blanket under the thigh(s).

Legs can be 90 degrees apart to 120 degrees for advanced students. The full splits of 180 degrees is not necessary, but if you can do it, go for it.

If you're advanced, fold right down onto your stomach and rest your arms to the sides.

Use a bolster or blanket under the chest

If head is too heavy for the neck, support the head in hands or a block or a chair.

If you are stiff, bend the knees a lot! It is also okay to place the feet flat on the floor. When the knees are bent, and while sitting on a cushion, you can bend forward more easily and allow gravity to do the work.

Pose Variations

Bend arms and put backs of hands on the back of the rib cage and flap the wings.  If you are flexible you can bend forward in this position

Toe Bends in Dragonfly

Ankle Rolls in Dragonfly

Side Stretch on Both Sides

Shoulder Rolls in Dragonfly

Finger Bending in Dragonfly

Wrist Rolls in Dragonfly

Side bend – both sides

Forward bend – both sides

Half dragonfly, with forward bend or side stretch

With a partner

Neck rolls

Lift the Legs in the air in this position with hands around sides of feet or toes

Do the pose with back on the ground and legs on the wall

Do the pose as a variation of snail (hatha plough pose)

Do a variation of this pose after happy baby with back on the ground

Twist side to side bringing alternate finger tips to toes

Coming Out of the Pose:

Use your hands to push the floor away and slowly roll up.  Engage the abs, can also tighten the thighs
Once you are up, lean back on your hands to release the hips, tighten the leg muscles, and drag or lift your legs to bring them together. Bounce or shake out the legs.

Counter poses:

Windshield Wipers the legs

 Do a cross-legged, seated backbend

Meridians & Organs Affected:

Urinary Bladder on back of legs and on the back, and the Liver and Kidney lines through the groin and the Spleen through the inner knees.

The twisting version will stimulate the Gall Bladder along the side of the torso.

Joints Affected:

Hips, lower back, and knees.

Recommended Hold Times:

Three to ten minutes;

Related Hatha Poses

Upavistha Konasana.

Other Names:


Other Notes:

This pose can be very frustrating for beginners because the adductor muscles tug on the sitting bones, just like the hamstrings do, which causes the top of the hips to tilt backward.  This will open over time. 

Use props.

Keep weight forward on the sitting bones; even tug the flesh away from the buttocks before folding forward.

Often it is nice to spend half of the time in one variation and then add a twist for the last half of the pose.

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