Monday, November 26, 2012

Karandavasana Impotence: Is there Viagra for Karandavasana?

Ha, I can't believe I'm actually stooping to using such provocative titles to attract readers; but as they say, it happens to the best of us (not to say I'm the best blogger or anything; just a manner of speaking...).

Anyway, during this morning's practice, I finally returned to working on Karandavasana after more than a year of not working on this posture. I had been quite successful in getting my feet into lotus in headstand over the last week, so I thought: Why not give Karandavasana a shot?

Well, I ended up giving the pose four shots this morning. Here's how the four tries went:

First try: Got into Pincha Mayurasana, got the feet into lotus, tried to land the knees on the elbows, but ended on landing in a seated padmasana.

Second try: Got into Pincha, and lost balance before I could even get my feet in lotus.

Third try: Same as second try.

At this point, a voice inside me was saying: Look, if you can't even get into lotus in the last two tries, you should probably call this a day. Your muscles are probably fatigued. Maybe try again tomorrow?

But the stubborn side of me prevailed over this voice, and I decided to give the pose one last try. So:

Fourth try: Got into Pincha, got the feet into lotus, and then... voila, my knees landed on my elbows with a little spring! At least, it kind of felt like my hips (or whatever) had springs in them, because when the knees touched the elbows, they felt like they were going to bounce off my elblows. But they stayed, and I landed the duck.

But the hard part was getting the lotus back up into the air from the elbows. It's a very strange feeling: It just feels like there is simply no "ground" to push off from. I don't know if this makes any sense, but in arm balances like Bakasana and Bhujapidasana (as well as in jumpbacks) there's always the ground to push off from, and you know that if you are going to get anywhere, you need to push away from the ground. Of course, anybody who has ever worked on arm balances would know that the whole picture is a bit more complicated than that, but nobody would disagree that pushing off the ground is the starting point of the arm balance. But with Karandavasana, at least for me, it feels like there's just nothing to push off from. So after staying with my knees on my elbows for five breaths, I simply lowered myself down to a seated lotus.

So I, ahem, couldn't get it up in Karandavasana today. I wonder if there is a Viagra for Karandavasana on the market yet?

   Is this what I need to get it up in Karandavasana? 
[Image taken from here]

In the meantime, if any of you seasoned Karandavasana-ers out there have any tips/suggestions on how to treat this Karandavasana impotence (without Viagra, of course), please feel free to share. 

15 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. P.S. I was hoping you would tell me that they have started selling Karandavasana pills at the coconut stand in front of KPJAYI. Well, no such luck, eh? :-)

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    2. Karandavasana water. Comes in coconuts.

      Honestly, I practiced intermediate every day for like five years and couldn't lift the duck consistently until two years after I split to advanced and was only taking karandava once a week. Now I'm 15 pounds heavier than I was in the intermediate years, and have much more generous hips and posterior than most daily practitioners, but karandava is just... easy. It's just years of daily practice. There a teacher / longtime practitioner in London who got hers back within months of giving birth.

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    3. Karandavasana water :-)

      Interesting... so it sounds like lifting the duck is very much a matter of somehow getting the hang/weight distribution right. Which can only come with much daily practice. Interesting... thanks for the insight.

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  2. What Owl says.

    Also -- max your bandhas, beyond what you think you can. For training purposes, hover the lotus a millimeter above arms, don't touch. When it's time to lift, know that you are King Kong.

    Absent pills, there is an exercise that accelerates the development. If you are feeling spry in the evening, do Uttanasana in front of a wall, with the crown of the head resting against the wall and the palms placed so that the arms are vertical. Pike into handstand as slowly as possible, both legs straight. Repeat until it becomes easy.

    This program got me lifting Karandavasana in around six months if I remember correctly.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not much of an evening practice person, partly because I am usually totally beat and hungry by the evening after a long day, and also because I believe that once I am done with practice in the morning, I'm done with practice for the day. But I'll definitely give that exercise a shot the next time I feel spry in the evening :-)

      I think somebody also once suggested hovering the lotus a millimeter above the arms before. I'll try that. As for maxing the bandhas beyond what I think I can... well, I'll give it a shot. Thanks!

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    2. You're very welcome, and a couple other points that come back to memory -- long hold on Pincha Mayurasana, like 20 or 30 breaths... gradually reducing as strength develops in Karandavasana.

      Also, in closing sequence follow Shirshasana with Urdhva Mukha Shirshasana, where the head lifts off the mat and the face turns up to navel drishti. This asana is actually kind of fun.

      Guarantee all the above will get results, if it doesn't I'll cover your Viagra prescription ;)

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    3. Thanks for offering to cover my Viagra prescription. Come to think of it, if I become a US citizen one day, I may be able to try to get Obamacare to cover this prescription :-)

      But this is neither here nor there. Thanks for your long-holds-in-Pincha suggestion. After practice this morning, it also occurred to me that maybe if I "hold the duck" (i.e. keep the lotus on the elbows) for a few more breaths, one day, something will probably "click" somewhere, and I will find the muscles needed to lift back up. This has been my experience with jumpbacks and other arm balances. Do you think this will help with Karandavasana too?

      I can lift my head off the ground in Sirsaana, but if I try to look towards the navel, I tend to lose balance.

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  3. Haha, karandavasana impotence. Wonderful. I think I need the blue pose a little earlier on in the pose. Somewhere before the landing. For coming up, apparently it's good to lead with you butt and back of your pelvis instead of trying to lift your legs. Your legs will just lead you backwards instead of up. And maybe pretend someone is in front of you, hauling you up at the waist... Did you see this hilarious video of Sarah Dee practicing karandavasana with her cat in the background. http://ashtangayoginionthemove.blogspot.ca/2012/11/furry-friends-can-help-your-practice.html

    Cat aside, if you look at how she breaks it down, it's quite useful. A ton of work this one. Has taken me 3.5 years to land crashing... 4 attempts to land? Not so bad! No viagra necessary!

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    1. Hello Erica,
      I'm picturing the idea of leading with one's butt in my mind's eye right now, and I think it makes a lot of sense. It also seems that if you lead with your butt, you are more likely to curl up more into a ball, and thus get more out of your bandhas.

      I'll check out Sarah Dee's video soon. Thanks!

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  4. Bugger, stuck this on the wrong post, should be on this one.

    Practice of course but the right kind of practice not just banging away at it day in day out in the same way. I watched videos over and over, took screenshots, used slow motion, took videos of my own practice and compared my slow motion and screenshots against everyone else's. That was when I was taking the 'Richard Freeman 14 day Karandavasana challenge'. Landed it in two weeks but it took another week i think to get it back up. I think I'd been doing Ashtanga for only two years so bandhas probably weren't much to speak of, think it was mostly technique, ultimately a hodge podge of everybody else's, the bits that muddled together worked for me and my strengths and weaknesses. Interestingly I never really lost it once I learned to take it back up. I'd focus on a lighter Vinyasa Krama practice for a time but when I came back and tried karandavasana again after a few months lay off, up it would go. My guess is that it's the same for Owl, once you learn the mechanics of it where to shift the weight and direct the force/energy/lift, (or apply the bandhas if you prefer ), then it doesn't matter so much if your weaker or a little heavier, and yet in the beginning the leaner, stronger, fitter, more motivated you are probably does helps, everything helps, makes up for the lack of technique.

    That said my karandavasana has always been a little ...ropey, arms aren't straight, chins off the mat but only just, it lacks elegance but that's perhaps because I took shortcuts and have never worked at it that much since I got it up. These days I rarely bother to include it in my practice ( longer breaths somethings gotta go), nice surprise when I remember it though and up it still goes.

    Of course once you do get it up you have that cute flip out to look forward to, scary the first few times.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Grimmly. You are a very dedicated asana practitioner who is also very dedicated at chronicling your efforts for posterity to look at and learn from (assuming, of course, that what you post on your blog will still be around, say, a thousand years from now :-)).

      For the time being, I think I'm going to keep working on Karandavasana, and use my relative strength and fitness and leanness to make up for my lack of technique until I "get" the technique. At any rate, I think it's rather unlikely that I will be able to get it back up in two or three weeks. Although, then again, anything is possible... We'll see.

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  5. At this point, a voice inside me was saying: Look, if you can't even get into lotus in the last two tries, you should probably call this a day. Your muscles are probably fatigued. Maybe try again tomorrow? viagra for henne

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