Thursday, June 9, 2011

Practice, Karandavasana, Lightness and Big Arms

Disclaimer: This post (and this blog in general) contains the random thoughts and very non-expert opinions of a somewhat crazy Chinese Ashtangi who presently lives in the upper mid-western United States. He practices mostly by himself, and has many random thoughts and ramblings that finds expression through this blog. Due to the purely personal nature of these thoughts and musings, the reader is advised to take whatever he says with a grain (or maybe even a spoonful) of salt. He will not be held responsible for any drishti violations, practice issues or even, God forbid, injuries that occur as a result of taking his views too seriously. Consider yourself warned.  

I was inspired to write this disclaimer after hearing about Ivana's experience in mysore class after reading my post about drishti violations during mysore class :-) Most of you probably already know everything in the disclaimer, but it can't hurt to repeat certain things sometimes, can it?

This post is inspired by Claudia's question at the end of her latest post: How was your practice today? I could have just said, "It was." But being somebody who, well, doesn't have a life, and who loves talking about certain details of his practice that possibly nobody else in the world would care about, I will say something here about my practice over the last couple of days.

I'll start with this morning. I did full primary and second up to Karandavasana. Primary was smooth and refreshing. Second was nice too. Stayed in Pincha Mayurasana for 15 breaths in order to build more upper-body strength, and then made two Karandavasana attempts:

Attempt #1: Went up into Pincha. Lost my balance while trying to close the right knee joint, and had to come back down.

Attempt #2: Had better luck with this one. Went up into pincha. Succeeded into getting into padmasana in pincha, and held it for 10 breaths. My legs felt very snug and tight in padmasana. A tight and snug padmasana is a very nice feeling to have. I'm not sure why, but when my padmasana is snug and tight, I feel... in control somehow.

After practice, as I was walking down the stairs to the coffeeshop, I felt very light. My legs and feet felt light, and walking seemed more effortless than usual. Usually, I tend to feel a little "scooped-out" after practice, as if somebody has put a giant spoon into me and scooped out my innards, leaving me transparent and substance-less. But there was none of that scooped out feeling today. Instead, there was this light and effortless feeling. I hope this means that my body is getting used to the demands of Pincha Mayurasana and Karandavasana, and is becoming stronger (and therefore, moving more effortlessly). I guess only time will tell...

I also have this perception that my arms have become larger. For example, a couple of days ago, I was driving in my car. When I stopped at a stop-light, I happened to glance at my reflection in the glass window of an adjacent store-front. I noticed that the triceps of my extended right arm (which was gripping the steering wheel) seemed to have become bigger and more prominent.

But maybe this only happens to certain people (certain Chinese guys, maybe?). If you are female and are reading this post, do not be frightened into not trying Karandavasana. Most women I know who do Karandavasana do not have big arms. Here's an example:

You probably don't need me to tell you this, but my Karandavasana (if you can even call it that) isn't even close to being as effortless as hers. But well, that's why I'm practicing, right? :-) 


  1. i feel honoured to have been an inspiration ;-)

  2. I'm happy you feel honored :-)

  3. Mr arms have definitely become defined since starting Ashtanga. No sinewy arms for me.

  4. I hope you are liking your more well-defined arms, yoginicory :-) I hope you are also enjoying yourself in Hong Kong :-)