Karandavasana Part III: Coming Back up

So, this post may be a disappointment to some readers because it is not really about coming back up from Karandavasana. It’s about trying to come up, and it is from a female perspective…women are definitely a bit more handicapped in this pose.

As you can guess, I am still working on Karandavasana. There has been some progress so far:

  • my right knee finally healed, and I can hold my balance upside down while coaxing those legs into lotus without the knee protesting in pain;
  • I can lower down my knees down to my armpits…but it takes GREAT internal effort not to topple over;
  • this means that in order to stay upright, I focus on bandhas and imagine my spine curving in slight back bend to hold the balance; my focus turns inward rather than what my limbs are doing;
  • I suck in my gut and imagine trying to touch my lotus-bound thighs against my chest;
  • and, the tighter I get the lotus, the easier it is to fold down….
  • I no longer grunt and groan like a gnarly truck driver, so that is GREAT progress!
  • I land the duck and if it is a soft landing (rather than crashing down into your armpits because you have lost bandha control), I feel especially good.

BUT!!! And of course, there is ALWAYS a “but”…coming back up is a different story. I simply cannot do it without assistance. One day I managed to lift my legs up one inch before crashing down in defeat. Or, I cheat…I lower down until my knees touch my chest, hold for one measly breath, then lift back up.

That’s no problem…yeah, right. Sometimes I exert too much force and crash onto my back, or just flick my legs out into chataranga before lifting straight up, rather than doing the “proper” exit.

Well, if I land completely into my armpits, there is just so much dead weight that I can’t possibly lift up. I have tried to keep my core muscles engaged (instead of releasing)…and STILL that does not work. Even when I do a face plant into the ground for leverage. Then I wind up with a very sore neck.

It is not good to have gas when you are trying to do this pose. Otherwise, you will become a “farting” duck.

4 thoughts on “Karandavasana Part III: Coming Back up

  1. I’m also working on karandavasana… so hard! My teacher has to help me because I just can’t come back up. One of my teacher told me that apparently it is more difficult for women than men to come back up.. I guess it is a question of strenght. Even though I don’t do it by myself yet, I had Mayurasana 2 weeks ago, not easy! I love Ashtanga haha!!

    • Yes, that is what my teacher told me, too! Women get an easier pass, and can progress to Mayurasana if we can land the duck, he said. I got Mayurasana too and it is HARD!! But maybe that’s why we love ashtanga — who can resist the challenge? 🙂

  2. Don’t worry about coming back up now, takes years of practice and most women cannot do it. It really depends on the way you are built. I cannot come back up correctly, but really, who cares? Keep working but don’t stress, remember 99% practice, 1% theory.

    • I will happily “steep” in karandavasana for as long as it takes…I know that it’s not about “achieving” a pose. The ironic thing is that my teacher Andrew wants me to try to come back up; I was happy to just land. He said, “You’ve the strength for it.” I don’t know what he is seeing, but ever since he suggested that, I thought that maybe I could try.

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