Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Garbha information overload

Since I started (trying) to do garbha pindasana and having all sorts of trouble with the rocking, I've heard lots of different advice. I can get my arms right through (thank you Mr water-spray), I can rock back and forth, but as soon as I attempt a circumnavigation of my mat: beaching. Humiliation. Bleurgh.

"Rock back with the exhale, forward with the inhale."
"Pump the thighs as if you were on a swing."
"Make sure you rock alternate sides of your spine to avoid bruising the bony bit of your back"
"keep the bandhas engaged and the neck sticking out like a turtle" (I am paraphrasing...)
"Rock back onto the left side and lead up with the right side"

And much more besides...but still the fact remains that I CAN'T. BLOODY. DO. IT. Every day as I approach it I start making deals with myself as to whether I'll try it "properly" (in a circle) or if I'll just rock on the spot. Most days I find a reason for the latter (I'm too close to my neighbour/the wall, I'm beside the teacher's station & it's putting me off/I don't have time/I don't have the energy) so I am no closer to being able to do it. 
One day last week I just decided that there is only one way I am going to learn this. I have to actually  try. So that day I tried and tried, and eventually with lots of stopping & getting stuck, I got around. So of course the next day - what happened? I was in a hurry so I didn't try. And the next day. And so it goes on...

But today, again with my teacher sitting right beside me, I did actually try. I was encouraged by yesterday's effort where (on the spot, granted) I had managed to maintain contact between my hands and my forehead the whole time, which was an absolute first. And the first rock was good, hands stayed on the forehead and I actually moved round to the right. Pausing before the second rock I started to believe I could do this. I suddenly remembered about bandhas...might as well give that a try I thought... ;) So in my slow way I made a few rocks, a few revolutions, was feeling rather pleased with myself, and then I got stuck. 

"Do you want help?" C asked from her perch, but it turned out the help on offer (at first) was verbal.
"It's all in the tuck. As soon as you lose that tuck you've lost it - that's why I teach it with the hands on the forehead," she said. AHA! The most helpful piece of advice I think of hears on this one - oooor, maybe just what I needed to hear today. And yes, she did have to help me round on the last few (and to fling me into a lame kukkutasana), but this really gives me something to work on for tomorrow. Hurrah for daily practice - the last 2 days I have had the sensation on finishing that I just want to do it all over again...well, in 16 hours time I can have my wish!
p.s. yeah yeah, I know, I'll write about Thailand. One day.


  1. I'm taking notes!

    I find that it's when I concentrate too much on rolling down one side, up the other, that's when it all goes wrong and I'm stuck. See also 'feeling pleased with how well it's going' and 'getting a bit bored as it takes me twelvty five rocks to get anywhere'. Both are beached yogi time.

    I can't get my hands all the way to my forehead yet, and if I could I'm sure I wouldn't have the strength to roll with them there. I've never thought about the thighs before, I'll try and keep the whole list in mind next time I attempt the pose.

    I wonder if it's more difficult because you dislike getting stuck so much? Or maybe I'm projecting with my headstand issue. I find falling out of headstand humiliating, and continue to have problems with headstand which are far more mental than physical, whereas falling out of garbha just makes me frustrated. And sometimes giggly.

    And finally . . . well done for going for it! I love that 'I want to do it all again!' feeling.

  2. If it's any help, I can't keep my hands touching my head all the way round, though I get that why we do it is to maintain the rounded shape and bandha engagement. Pumping with the legs will help initially, but should eventually be avoided because you have way more control doing it with bandhas.. but whatever gets you round to start with!!

  3. My teacher once wryly remarked that we are humans and not whales when he saw me take about 35 rocks to get around... referencing of course, gestation. I can't believe you can touch your head!! I'd be all happy about that and who cares about getting beached :D

  4. Hey Mel, this really summarises how I feel about kapotasana, enough already I just want to flow through my practice. Okay whine over.

    I know you said you had enough advise already but if I could just suggest one more thing... the best instruction I got, maybe from the lovely Gail was to focus on the down rock rather than the up. The momentum you get from going down will bring you up. Using this if you do find yourself stuck you should be able to re-initiate movement and still get round.

    Good luck.

  5. So today's report is....I did THREE decent rotating rocks before I got stuck. I'd like to call that progress! And I only gave up trying to get round because I'd rocked off my mat and was crunching my spine painfully on the floorboards (Where's that huge round mat when you need it?!)

    R - you're right, I tried to talk myself out of caring about getting stuck, but it is very frustrating because my ego loves doing kukkutasana and if I get stuck I can't do it!! Also I feel like a total idiot...
    Susan I don't think it matters if you're not touching your head if you have your bandhas engaged! I think that's why C said "that's why I teach it that way..." suggesting it's not a traditional thing but a learning aid. But yes, I'll take anything that works!!

    Haha Loo! Though our teacher now does 5 rocks in led so I don't know what gestation period that relates to...apparently she used to let us have a whole 9 months but those days are gone! She actually wrestled my arms right the way through the first time I did the pose (remember the bruises?) and they've been most of the way through ever since, but they're securely there now. But still so much work to do, I'm not convinced this makes it easier!!!

    Helen I won't say no to any more advice, especially if it helps! But yes I just wonder if the day will ever come when I can flow through this bit of the practice. Mind you, the other thing that helped was realising how I felt the same about it as I used to about supta k, which I can now bind hands, cross feet and lift up out of, so anything's possible with daily practice...

  6. Mr Water Spray is my BFF for this pose too, although if he could help lengthen my arms so that I can rest my chin in my hands, that would be brilliant! ;) I haven't dared tried rocking in a circle, instead I've focused on rocking without beaching at all. The trick to that I've found is to really use the breath to rock up, and let the momentum do its work. I'm also trying to keep my hands on the top of my head throughout. Not so easy, but I'm pretty sure it will come with time.

    And, congrats on binding and lifting up in Supta K! I can wriggle my feet together, but getting the fingers to touch seem like an elusive dream at the moment.

  7. On the bright side, we actually still get six rolls, not five :)

  8. I think the fact that I don't know that speaks volumes....given that I can't even get round in 16!! :)