Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Battered and bruised

Just a quick post to share the sorry state of my arms...

I had heard from friends that garbha pindasana leads to some pretty well - UNpretty bruises, and when I first started the pose a few weeks ago I thought this one on my left arm was a good'un:
Or should I say collection of ones, more accurately. Notice the bruises are mostly below my elbow...

Anyway, a few weeks have gone by and as I wrote about this week the pose is coming on. Today I got my arms the furthest through yet on entering the pose (I do have them under my chin, but I'm not quite getting the Shirley Temple look, there's a few inches needed before they are comfortably under my chin) but in doing so I hurt my left arm quite a lot. Chatting in the changing-room after practice I inspected the damage, and realised that the bruises on my right arm (actually bruise on top of bruise on top of...etc etc) have reached a seriously ugly stage. You can judge for yourself...
 It looks different colours in different lights (surely the ultimate accessory?):
Incidentally - how horrendously hyper-extended is my elbow in this photo?? Me oh my....BUT - look how much further up the bruises are than those of week 1! This shows progress surely?

Checking in on the left arm bruises, the original ones had faded to a highly attractive shade of yellowy-green (nice) but seem to be coming back a little this week:

So yes. That's me and my elbows. It has been suggested that I should probably give the pose a rest to allow the bruises to die down but...*sigh* ego doesn't want me to stop trying! Not just when it's starting to make sense! One last one...
 Now that's enough showing off for one night.


  1. Those are very impressive! Even when that pose becomes more comfortable, the bruises don't stop completely. I have a Garba 'nostalgia bruise' on my right arm at the moment. :-D

  2. Hey, the bruises can stop, Kai!

    Mel, OWWWWW. Can you make the right side of your lotus looser (knees wider)? I make a very loose lotus for this one. It isn't easy and I'm not that good at it, we all know how big my arms are, but no more bruises :)

    Re hyperextension, I saw that photo and kind of flinched, but only because mine do the same... and the memories of feeling like my arms would snap at the elbow, before I learned to work them correctly and got the strength... I hope Cary's advice on the knees is helping. I had a teacher once who didn't care about hyperextension and would say 'that's just the way your body is'... but only because he didn't have this 'feature' himself, I think it's something we really have to work with.

    One last thing, in repsonse to a previous post and a commenter - everyone feels silly doing garbha! There's a similarly whimsical pose about halfway through 2nd that everyone feels stupid in too... walking in tittibhasana. My advice is to just enjoy feeling silly :)

  3. OMG Mel, I thought Mondays bruises were impressive, but these are really something else. I hope they calm down as you become more comfortable in the posture. At least it will show Kino you are a truly dedicated ashtangi

  4. Kai - a shalamate tells me she still gets them after 8 years...though with less severity than this I am hoping!
    Susan, I have tried making the lotus looser but it doesn't seem possible...I was concentrating initially on getting the thighs more parallel rather than sloping out which I can sort of do, but there seems to be no correlation between what I do, where I feel it on my arms, and where the bruises actually spring up. I can't even figure out what causes them! And C reckons the bruises are due to lack of muscle so maybe that's why you're OK :)
    Lots to think about with the hyperextension this week too, I feel like the answer with everything is to draw it up - draw up the knees whilst working on drawing up the's a lot to think about but seems to be helping/working.
    Actually Noah said that hyperextension isn't a problem as long as you don't "bounce" the muscle but I think last week's inflamed knee proves otherwise :)
    Kev I know - and I think they actually look a bit worse in real life! My colleague said it's a good job I don't have a boyfriend otherwise they'd think I was getting beaten (eek). Lucky me it's just a silly yoga pose.

    Oh and - as of today I am giving the pose a rest. Cary's shocked expression when I showed her my arm was enough to convince me, even if the advice of several other friends first didn't :)

  5. Hahaha oh Mel, this is such a hilarious post!! I commiserate on your bruises as I've started building my own 'collection' as well. I think they're the result of compressing the elbows against the tops of the feet during the rocking. I can't think of any other reason for them. Bony elbow + bony foot = black and blue elbow.

    Susanananda: You're right about the whimsicality of the pose! After the first few days, I actually started to enjoy the 'sillyness' of it all, there's something therapeutic about rocking around on your back I suppose :)

  6. not to argue, but i actually found that a tighter lotus took care of the arm bruise problem in garbha. knees closer together, heels in towards the pubic crest, actually made more space for my arms. and i don't bruise anymore. and i am sure that the awkwardness of garbha does not even touch the ridiculousness i feel in the tittibasanas. something to look forward to :)
    oh, and arnica for the bruises.

  7. Ouch ouch ouch! I'm glad you're taking a break from it, I hope it's not too frustrating.

    I get to try garbha every few weeks, and definitely have the same problem. It really pulls my skin getting into the pose, and the rolling feels impossible. And, yes, comical.

  8. Dear Mel
    All I can add is "ouch". today i did a lame garba but it's because my left leg talks back to me lately. how long do the bruises last?

  9. Danielle, my advise would be if the bruises pile on top of one another and end up feeling hot & kind of swollen, give it a little rest! Don't let them get to this stage...
    Anonymous - you're not the only one I have heard this from! I am looking forward to trying both ways once I reinstate the full posture - which thanks to the wonders of arnica will hopefully be quite soon!
    R - are you spraying water? I haven't noticed it pulling my skin but then i make sure my arms and legs get a good drenching from a spraybottle first. Rocking on the spot (which is all i have done so far!) for a few weeks has given me some control and made it seem not so impossible, but now i need to figure out the round the clock bit - eek!!
    Hope your leg is feeling better Arturo. I actually can't believe how quickly the bruises have improved thanks to arnica gel and homeopathic tablets plus rest (i.e. not putting the arms through). Just this weekend my bruises were being gawped at at Kino's workshop, now they have faded almost away!