Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Falling on my face

Fell on my face during this morning's practice. After my fifth navasana, I lifted my body off the mat, and attempted to lift up into handstand. I got my hips to where they were directly above my shoulders (or so my prioproception tells me; I obviously couldn't see my shoulders at that moment), and then extended my legs up into the air. They actually stayed up (exciting!). Then I tried to extend my arms to lift up into handstand. For some reason, my arms gave way, and I fell on my nose/mouth. Fortunately, my apartment is carpeted, so no teeth were lost (FAQ: How many Ashtangis have false teeth as a result of accidents during the practice?).

I just got some useful advice from Boodiba/Queen of the East Village about how to work on this transition. Thank you Boodiba! Will go at it again tomorrow. 

This is, in my memory, the second time I have fallen on my face during practice. The first time was earlier this year, at my teacher's shala in Milwaukee. I was trying to come down in Karandavasana, and my arms gave way as well. That resulted in a slightly bruised upper lip. My teacher's response wasn't so sympathetic: He smirked, and said, "This won't be the first time." Turns out he was right.

But there is a positive side to this whole story. For those of you out there who have great fear of falling on your face, I am living proof that it is not all that bad. Oh well, maybe I shouldn't jinx myself by saying this: There's still tomorrow morning's practice.  


  1. Wow, thank God for the carpet, that sounds scary... good to hear you are OK. Why would the arms give way at such a crucial moment?

  2. Nobel, you need to learn the tuck and roll. I took Judo for awhile and I learned some serious skills that paid off in asana stunts! ha ha!!

    But seriously- not being someone who even cares to try handstand from Navasana (too hard! I'm too lazy!), it sounds like an unavoidable situation when learning. Good for you for continuing on!

  3. Dear Nobel, I broke eyeglasses that way in my early yoga days. I don't think the transition to handstand from navasana is practiced in mysore these days, but if you have the strength for it, more power to you.

  4. Claudia, yes, the carpet was useful this time. I had always disliked practicing in carpeted rooms, because I feel that the soft surface is bad for the wrists (not enough stability), but this time having the carpet was a good thing; it saved my face! Hmm... I don't know why the arms would give way at such a crucial moment. Still researching...

    Evelyn, yes, I actually know the tuck and roll, from my Tae-Kwon-Do days. But it just happened so suddenly that I didn't have the presence of mind to execute it. Will remember if this happens again.

    Arturo, I can see how eyeglasses can be broken from doing this. Fortunately, I don't wear my glasses when I am practicing at home.

    You are right that the transition to handstand is not practiced in mysore these days. Actually, my teacher told me that some people recently got yelled at by Sharath in mysore for doing it! But I can't resist trying it, especially after seeing that youtube video of Lino Miele doing it so effortlessly!

  5. Hi Nobel, I fell forward in Prasarita Padottanasana C a couple weeks ago, rolled over, hit my legs on a low shelf in my room, and somehow pulled a muscle in my neck. Couldn't practice yoga after that since any major movement would aggravate it (don't worry it's fixed now). It was the dumbest/weirdest accident ever, because I've never felt that unstable in this pose. But then again, I'm the Queen of Balance loss and Weird accidents. Teaches me never to practice yoga in small spaces near any protruding objects ever again.

  6. Yyogini, sorry to hear about your neck. Glad it's okay now. Actually, falling/rolling forward in the Prasaritas is pretty common. When I was at Kino's workshop in Chicago back in October, this guy in front of me fell and rolled forward in Prasarita Padottanasana B (I'm so glad I was behind, and not in front of him!).