Monday, 7 February 2011

Landing the elusive duck

Kapotasana went away last Wednesday and has only just came back today, the flexibility of my spine varies greatly.  I was frustrated with kapotasana because the rest of my practice feels so meditative.  However, I realized here is the power of this practice, I have to do something really challenging and calm my mind. This gives the practice some real life application because life sometimes has it's share of challenges.  I often feel that is how I cope with them that show how much the yoga is really working.

I love karandavasana.  I am not able to do it by any means, I am still working on my landing and enjoying the process.  My hips have oppened up, about one month ago, making leg behind the head deeper and getting into lotus in karandavasana less of a mission. At first it felt like it took a day just to get in, it still is a mission but an easier one so I have been working on my landing.

It is fun!  Here is how it is going and what I have learned so far.  It is a difficult pose and have decided to take it one step at a time.  When I was first given it, I was overwhelmed, I wondered how on earth I would work in this at home.   My teacher told me to just try and get into lotus and balance, that made it more accessible, I had something that seemed possible to work toward.  When I could do that every day and I was balanced I started to try to go half way down.  To do that you have to gradually shift the weight back, like you do in headtand when coming down.  The hard part is learning how much weight to shift and to teach my body a new movement, which comes down to practice.  I can do that now, after that I go down too quick and land on my arms but slip straight off.  So that is where my work is I try to stay in the place where I am still in control and gradually expand that. 

Last night I watched kino's dvd in slow motion.  I think I have worked out what I do wrong and what to do next, now  I need to teach my body..........  Once she got half way she began to curl but he kept her pelvis in the same place until she was almost down. I think as I begin to curl I bring my pelvis toward the midline, thus shifting  the weight to far back and losing the control.  The next part, the landing is more complex but I am not going to work on that yet.  One step at a time.

When I was last at the shala, I got lot of helpful advise on this.  One of my teachers told me I needed to practice being in the down position, which I could do with assistance.  I was like said err great but I can only come to the shala once a month now, (I was going every week last year).  I suggested I could try and get into the down position from the floor, I  learnt how to do this on kino's workshop.  However, although I can get up from the floor one side at a time, the second side is always to low.  So I tried to get into the down position another way, also from kino's dvd.  I come into pincha but with my head on the floor i.e headstand, the get into lotus, lower down and then lift my head and land.  I practice it after I have had 3 goes at the regular karandavasana.  It is more stable so easier to control but I have still only landed it twice.  Once last week and once today, today I held the down position for ten breaths.  It was okay but there was no way in the world I was getting back up, head on the floor or not, that will take a long time!!!  I am enjoying the process as I love the mindfulness in motion as well as the mental and physical strength that this pose requires.


  1. Hello Helen, thanks for your practice report. I think kapo will get more meditative as time goes by. I'm not there yet, but I've been practicing staying in kapo A for ten breaths once I get into it to get me into the hang of being into the position more comfortably. I think it's helped make kapo feel more natural to me.

    I'm still slowly working back up to my pre-injury practice in second (I was at Mayurasana), and I haven't got karandavasana back yet (I'm now at pincha mayurasana). But what you're doing sounds like good work. Keep working on it.

  2. Hi Helen,

    Great post! I have "lost" kapotasana several times now...sometimes just for a few weeks and sometimes for a few months. In my body, it seems to have some relationship with how deeply I'm going into leg-behind-head. As my hips opened to allow deeper leg-behind-head, backbends receded a bit. I lost comfort in dropbacks whenever I lost kapotasana. It was a bit of a tug-of-war between deep backbending and deeper leg-behind-head for a couple years. It seems to have settled down at the moment.

    We're at the same place in karandavasana. On a "strong" day, I can manage to create the lotus and lower, but always slide right off the arms! I had a nicely bruised spot on the backs of my arms where I was crash-landing for a while! :)

    I'm with you on the struggle to practice karandavasana in home just seems so unapproachable! I practice with a friend once a week and when he helps me lower I can hold it at the bottom for a few breaths, but am totally baffled by coming idea how that would even happen. I feel pretty glued to the floor once I get down. My teacher said "don't even worry about coming up yet" I've happily set that aside for the moment. :)

    I'm enjoying the process as well. I really like the challenge as "strength poses" come so slowly to me. I'm amazed that I've even made it this far! I'm practicing with my teacher for a week at the end of the month and definitely hoping for some tips on this one!! I'll be sure to share if I learn anything helpful.

    I've got some good info on your anatomy question and will post that today or tomorrow sometime.

  3. Hi Nobel, my mind largely starts getting chatty between kapo attempts or after I do hang back prep. It's getting better as I have been cutting down the prep. I think that's what I mean, ideally I need to just do one kapo and then get on with my practice. I am removing one prep each week and it really helping. However I have to admit I do dislike doing the pose when my back is tight, it is so much harder.

    Mayurasana is my last pose too, and Christine's I think. Glad to hear you are starting to get your practice back, take care.

    Hi Christine,
    Interesting about the leg behind the head and backbend relationship you have. For me it is my upper back, as I am quite strong and have tightness in my shoulders and upper back. As I hang back in kapo sometimes it releases and othertimes not. I think last week tightness may be part of an opening but who knows, it is back again now.

    Nice to know I am not the only one going through the slide on the arms thing at the moment. I am excited for you that you will be seeing your teacher soon.

    The thing I forgot to mention in this post is as that through watching people come down I notice they bend there arms more and bring there head forward. If you look at the landed position, you can see the arms are may more bent than they are in pincha. I think this movement may be the key in not slipping off. I am wondering if this movement is brought about through bringing the head forward, or if people actually think about bending there arms or bringing there shoulders forward. Anyone who can do it reading?

    Update: The gap between landing and falling has increased and I have been able to land the headstand cheat version for 3 days in a row. That enables me to work on the down version as for the up, well I just try and nothing happens but I figure I am building strength.

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