Karandavasana, Part II: Landing the Duck

So I continue my journey with Karandavasana. This post will be a bit brief, short, maybe stream of consciousness since I crashed down in practice and have been feeling a bit loopy ever since. I’ll save that part for later.

Anyways, this week, I managed to get into a tighter lotus, and my right knee has been feeling a little better. With a tighter lotus, I’ve been able to tuck into the legs, tucking into my belly, almost…and at the same time, feeling a suction in the abdominal area as I REALLY engage the bandhas. I don’t practice the posture later in the day, but I visualize in my mind constantly how I would do it, how this might feel, etc. Maybe the visualization helps…

Andrew has been coaching me to really focus on folding in the legs, and touch them into the chest before letting down. Well, I think I could almost feel my legs against my chest and that’s when I feel my legs touch against my armpits, or upper arms. This happened on last Thursday or Friday. I could not believe it!!! I landed the duck. It must be a fluke…so I try again, and landed the duck the second time, but more sloppily. I nearly glide off the arms, and grunt and groan as Andrew hoists me back up. The third time — I was too tired. No go. Legs flew out of lotus and I lay down, defeated.

I think maybe the yoga fairy had been extra kind that day, but have been able to land the duck the next day, and the next. Now Andrew suggests that I should come back up, or at least try. I ask him if I really need to, as I heard that Sharath would let women come up assisted in Karandavasana. “Well, that’s true, but you have the potential,” Andrew said. “So you can try. You’re a surfer, so you’ve strong arms.”

That may be true but I still have no idea how to hoist all that weight in the waist, hips, and legs up after they have come to rest in my arms. So then I started to just lower myself a little bit against the chest before trying to lift back up. Today. The good news — I REALLY sucked in all those stomach muscles, got tight lotus and tucked right in…felt legs touch gently against my chest, but not touch armpits yet…did not let the stomach muscles go, kept them ENGAGED…HOISTED the legs back up, and I thought, “Victory!!!”

Only that I was unprepared for all the force that would come out of my legs unfolding out of lotus. Before I realized what has happened, I felt my body topple over and my back slammed onto the wooden floor like a wet slab of meat. KA-BLAM!!!

I lay on my mat in shock for a moment. Andrew asked if I was OK. I felt okay, so I laughed, and said, “Well, I guess it sounded worse than it feels.” I managed to try two more cycles of Karandavasana before I realized that it was time to rest and move on to finishing. Managed to do the backbends. Andrew joked, “Well, it’s better than leanding on your head.” We both laughed, it was funny, and it brought to my mind one of my first posts here — landing on the head while doing drop-backs, almost two years ago. 

Over the next several days, I have noticed the following: paying attention to bandhas (inner core) is essential. Getting legs into lotus is now easier, but as I lower and curl the legs into my abdomen, I have a tendency to release. Once I land on the arms and release, there is no coming back up. But even when I think that I am holding all the energy and effort into the pose, I can lift up only one inch. Well, if it is one inch per month, maybe in a year, I can lift up??

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