I received a question on how to come up from karandavasana, a difficult asana in Ashtanga’s intermediate series.

This asana is a forearm balance similar to pincha mayurasana but with the added challenge of taking full lotus, lowering down onto the arms, taking 5 full breaths and then lifting back up, straightening the legs and dismounting.

I’ve posted a short video of the asana. Here’s a link if you’re can’t see the embeded video.

 

First of all, it’s only men that are required to lift back up. There are some women that have the strength to do it, but it’s not a pre-requisite for women to learn subsequent asanas. Lifting back up is a real hurdle for men making their way through this series. It’s not uncommon for gents to have to spend a little time sorting out this pose before advancing.

It’s important to have strong bandhas and good breathing in this asana. In order to get the legs into lotus and lower down, one has to have a good strong waist to maintain balance, especially bringing the second leg into lotus.

The big problem when lifting back up is there’s a tendency to let the hips and seat sag and drop once one’s lowered onto the arms. It’s important to resist gravity and try to keep the hips and seat as elevated as possible. With each of the 5 breaths taken on the arms, fatigue increases and the hips and seat will want to drop. If the hips and seat get too low, it’s very hard to lift back up.

When it’s time to lift up, engage the bandhas strongly, take the weight forward and press the forearms straight down into the floor while pulling the hips and seat upward. All of this occurs on a long, full inhale. There is also a swinging movement bringing the knees up towards the ceiling as well, but the hips and seat lead the knees.

In a perfect world, one’s face doesn’t get squished into the floor. 🙂 However, it’s common for the head to drop a little (as in the video) without touching the face to the mat. That said, on some tired Sundays and the odd led Intermediate class at KPJAYI, I’ve face planted to lift back up.

Don’t worry about ‘style points’ at first. It’s the mechanics of using the breath, engaging the bandhas and taking the weight forward and upwards that’s most important. Try not to get discouraged if it takes some time. Keep practicing and it will come.

Hope this helps.

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