Thursday, 14 April 2011

Karandavasana landing and urrm up?

It's been so long since I blogged it is difficult to know where to begin.  I started writing a summary yesterday but it all sounded so dry.  The details without the life.  How can you sum up two months in one post.  So I am going to start again and focus my post on karandavasana.  For anyone who does not know this pose or for anyone as geeky as me, here is a video of karandavasana in a led intermediate class in mysore.

It's a hard pose, no kidding!  I love it though, it suits my character.  I'm very determined and I am fairly patient, most of the time;-).  I am also fairly strong which makes kapotasana harder as I have tight shoulders (that is opening up too now though).  I will happily chip away gradually building strength and learning to co-ordinate the movements which is more challenging but also kind of fun.

So I am working at this at home which can be a challenge as I can contine to do the same wrong thing again and again and again, you get the idea, lots of falling!  Last week I landed it for the first time on Wednesday and again on Thursday.  On Thursday my partner videod it, as he has a new camera and happened to be
around.   It was good to be able to watch it again, but it wasn't as good as I thought it was, lol.  What made the difference and enabled me to land was a tip from a teacher to move the shoulders up and forward.  Prior to this I would land slowly and then slide off my arms.  However as I am thinking about my shoulders I am not curling as much as I can and should in order to land it well and consitently.  This week I tried to do both and mostly failed, today when I was exhausted, last intermediate of the week, I managed to land on my fist attempt and it was a bit lighter I think.  Kino gave me a great tip re curling to draw the ribs in, this really helped so now I need to combine both the curl and the shoulder action.  This is all very physically orientated but to me it is excellent mindfulness training, you have to be totally present in karandavasana there is no room for daydreaming!

So once I land I'm all chuffed for a moment and then the question arises, how do I get back up.  I am doing one of my karandavasana attempts so I only go half way down hold that and then see if I can get back up from there as outlined in Ashtanga Yoga - The Intermediate Series: Mythology, Anatomy, and Practice (Ashtanga Yoga Intermediate Series) But when I am down I want to use the muscles I need to develop to build strength so that one day, however long it takes I can come up.  This was the approach I took for jump backs and after years of sending the s ignal, a kino would put it, my body responded.  Today I tried lifting the pelvis on and back toward me chest, using the strength of the pelvis.  Is this the action.   If anyone reading can do this and can explain what they do and from where that would be fab.

Bye for now.


  1. Hi Helen,
    I can’t offer any advice from experience yet about coming up from karandavasana, but thought I’d share what my teacher asked me to work on in hopes that I will someday pick up!

    I’m doing a few tries at controlled landing in karandavasana and then switching to a headstand base. From the headstand base, I’m making the lotus, curling all the way down, holding and then picking back up...then repeating the exercise 4 more times. My headstand base is pretty stable, so it’s giving me lots of practice in curling the spine without the whole thing falling apart. I think I’m starting to get the idea of how the curling the spine bit is related to coming back up...I’ll see if my teacher agrees when I see him in July! :)

  2. OK. I like what you say about keeping the shoulders forward and up, that's the base and it mustn't collapse. Then the curling. I curl as tight ad I can and don't let go of it when I lift my head... I look to the back of the mat on the way down, this helps with the tucking and weight distribution, then lift my head only. Then, in order for the hips to be above the head once again (at the top), the head had to come back under the hips as much as possible, that will help to kind of pivot them up. So you lift out of the shoulders, squeeze the bandhas *even more*, get that curling action and drag your head back as much as possible. That's the key for me - trying to get the head back under.

    You may have to spend quite a long time not budging the slightest bit and feeling that your efforts are futile, like pushing your forearms against a building and trying to move it. But lo and behold, one day your legs hover a half inch above your arms before you crash :-)

    You will crack it! Took me several years though.

  3. And yes, it's that action of lifting the pelvis.

  4. Hi Christine, thanks I love that we are working through this together. I do this during headstand which is naughty. Oops!

    Hi Susan, wow, thanks so much for your comment. I read it a few times and then rewatched the video. I see what you mean about the pivot, I had not noticed that before. I realise this is going to take some time but am so grateful I now know what I am trying to do. Look forward to exploring Sunday.

  5. Nice to see you blogging again Helen (I miss you! Hope we can catch up in person soon too!). And as you know I'm a geek so I'm just wondering who the people in the video are ;)
    Of course I can't add anything to this discussion really only that Tim & Kino were encouraging people to practice this in headstand as far as I know in Goa so I don't think it's naughty, it's like having stabilisers on your bike! I know if anyone can do this you can, you're so determined and strong :) xx

  6. I watched again too.... no one else seems to pull their head back as much as I feel like I pull mine back, but anyway that's my tip (maybe the actual movement is only a micrometer and it's more an 'action' than a 'movement'!)

    The nice thing is, once you can land you normally get moved on, then you can continue to work away at it but some of the focus gets shifted to new tricks :)

  7. Hi Mel! I miss you too! I have not seen you all year and here we are in April. I hope to see you soon. I'm finding it difficult to arrange a weekend where I can come to London at the moment but when I have a plan, I will let you know. I'm going to being going to Wales a lot which is lovely.

    I should clarify that what I think is naughty is practicing karandavasana in headstand during the closing sequence. I think I do enough karandavasana practice anyway so maybe I will stop doing it there. I do one in headstand during my karandavasana practice with arms pincha style as it is easier to land it this way. Thanks for the faith.

    Hi Susan, Thanks. I guess you just pull the head back as much as you can. It is interesting to hear what it feels like as it is sometimes difficult to know how to initiate a movement. Re, new poses, I'm quite happy where I am, as it enables me to work on this without having to keep energy for the rest of my practice, but we shall see...Mayurasana is much more stable. Hope to see you soon too, thanks again for your advise. I'll let you know how I get on.

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  10. Quite interesting and useful article. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Karandavasana is one of the Second Series top 3 most challenging postures and like all asanas there is a progression. One of the first steps is being able to smoothly, rapidly, and dynamically execute the inverted padmasana.

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  12. Quite interesting and useful article. Thanks for sharing.

  13. thank you for sharing your journey in such lovely words. you have been helpful with your knowledge y encouraging with your word y practices. it is good to read in the post above your are feeling at least somewhat better~bless
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  15. Nice post and video. Yoga have many poses and most of them required practice. Karandavasana is one of them.