In tips for teachers

I taught this delightful little power sequence in YYoga’s 3-Day Principles of YYoga Teacher Training as a demonstration of sensibly sequencing to peak poses. Keep in mind that access to Dragonfly is limited by the joint of the hip – not just the muscles. For more info on skeletal variation, check out Paul Grilley’s outstanding resources. Suffice it to say, the shape of the hip joint itself limits and controls how we move.  The deep external rotation and flexion that Dragonfly calls for means that it is simply not a universal pose.

But that’s no problem! It’s great fun and delicious to work towards it. And side crow and eka pada koundinyasana are awesome stages for getting there. Check it out.

Dragonfly Component Parts

What needs to be warmed up or educated for the peak

  • Core & Butt staying high
  • Hugging legs to midline/ neutral hips
  • External rotation and deep flexion at the hip
  • Lateral spinal flexion and rotation
  • Bright and engaged scapula – lots of serratus anterior
  • Hand engagement (hasta bandha)
  • Start on back – transition to yoga practice, breathing, etc.
  • Figure 4 stretch both sides
  • Core integration (pelvic floor, slow crunches, slow obliques)
  • Move to child’s pose and walk hands to right (lateral stretch, yum) then left
  • Downward Dog – Uttansana – Tadasana (roll up, yummy, take time)
General Warm Up
  • Surya A with some extra plank core and scapular push ups – 4 x
  • Vinyasa to Downward Dog…
  • Three-legged dog right leg, three slow core crunches (knee to nose). Take one across body to opposite elbows. Cue hip height (get bum up!) and pressing through hands
Targeted Warm Up
  • First series:
    • Vira II – link to Parsvakonasana (can have elbow to knee, elbow in front of knee, or hover core)
    • Hand to floor, turn back heel up, then core sequence: place hands on block. Train hips to stay lifted as you hover front foot. Press into hands. Float foot back to 3-legged plank. Then draw knee in and hover foot again. Slowly two more times. Then step back to 3-legged dog (can keep hands on block if want).
    • Open hip. Keeping hips back and up into down dog, take knee out to side like doggy at fire hydrant. Extend legs – outer hip engagement, YA!
    • Step slowly through foot between hands
    • Vira II to humble warrior
    • Hands to floor, turn back heel up, back knee down – Lizard (bum up again!)
    • Repeat all second side, then vinyasa
  • Second series:
    • From front of mat.
    • Revolved chair – step slowly back into Revolved Side Angle. Raise up to Crescent. Lift front heel up and hold three breaths. Put it back town. Hands slowly to floor.
    • Awkward pigeon (external rotation front leg, bum up and back!)
    • Step front foot halfway down mat, root down through the left hand, turn onto outside of back foot, lift hips high, supported Side plank.
    • Repeat all second side, then vinyasa
  • Third series:
    • From front of mat.
    • Eka pada galavasana prep (ie: standing figure four) – slow transition to Warrior 3
    • Step to crescent and transition to Revolved Side Angle pose
    • Hands to mat. Step front foot halfway down mat, root down through the left hand, turn onto outside of back foot, lift hips high, supported Side plank.
    • Staying lifted through shoulder, lower hips. Pull left heel to bum. Ardha Matsyendrasana. Transition to Agnistambasana (stacked shin) or seated figure 4.
    • Transition out the way you came in to supported Side Plank.
    • Draw right knee into chest, shoot right foot under left arm to left side of mat, turn onto outside of back foot, Side Plank Variation.
    • Staying lifted in shoulder, set hips down (legs look an “L”). Straight legs, twist to front of mat, deep belly twist and IT band stretch (this looks like a prone revolved triangle). Five deep breaths.
    • Come back out the way you came in, slowly. Down dog.
    • Repeat all on left side.
  • Core:
    • Navasana with twist from side to side.
    • Tolasana
    • Repeat
    • Seated Dragonfly
      • Version 1: Twisted navasana
      • Version 2: Seated figure four with twist towards foot
      • Version 3: Seated figure four with twist towards foot, bottom foot lifted off floor (like navasana)
  • Version 1: Side crow
  • Version 2: Eka Pada Koundinyasana A
  • Version 3: Dragonfly – from eka pada galavasana prep
Cool down and Savasana
  • Anjaneyasana optional thigh stretch
  • Upavista Konasana
  • Happy Baby
  • Savasana
  • Bum up! It’s not the body part, but the action that is so key
  • A theme about accepting our unique, magnificent bodies is a beautiful way to invite play, exploration and fun to this sweaty, yummy, twisty practice 🙂

Try it and comment!

Enjoy! 🙂


Recommended Posts
Showing 6 comments
  • Connie

    Wow Rachel!

    This looks a little out of my reach atm. I am relatively new to yoga and can barely do eagle pose! I need to work a lot on my balance do you have any tips??

  • Rachel

    Hi Connie!
    This is one of those silly yoga poses 😉 Funny enough, it’s just not just about practice, but literally about bone shape! Unless you’ve got great flexion and external rotation in your hip joint, it’s just too weird to get into. For balance, I have a video all about the feet that I recommend you check out. Wake up the feet and balance will come! Also – the outer hips are key to balancing. So working the glutes (not “sitting” in the hip and letting yourself just one hip out, but lifting up and stabilizing them…think “hugging out hips in”) will really help! When you feel your outer hip work, that’s a good sign! Tip to find these muscles: stand and place your hands on your outer hips. Without moving your feet, push your heels away from each other. You’ll feel these muscles fire under your hands. These are the guys you want to work 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

  • Harold Simpson

    Great that you have taken the time to put this down. The dragonfly is not an easy pose to master. Apart from hip flexibility, spinal flexibility also plays a key role. The pose is also influenced by the strength of your arms, core and legs. I do agree that it’s great fun trying to get there!

  • yoga

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Sequence to Dragonfly

  • Michal S. Pickering

    Wow great Rachel. It must take me years to do this pose, and I’m not so sure I can do that. Admire you much. And thank you for inspiring post.

  • Yoga Trainer Delhi

    it’s very useful article for me .. Thanks for it

Say Hi

Please send me a message. I look forward to hearing from you!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
%d bloggers like this: