Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tortoise Got Stuck

A funny thing happened today in Supta Kurmasana.

FYI - I think I can now confirm this sucker of a bind is MINE now. Ever since it happened while I was on the detox, I've been able to do a full five-finger bind on my own now (and no, I still haven't had pasta for dinner since; been keeping it light and raw and in my twisted way of thinking, I swear that helps).

I still need help with getting the legs completely behind the head though. So today for the first time after binding my legs behind my head and hooking my feet together, teacher actually put me flat on the floor and walked away. (She usually binds the legs behind head, then gently raises them, so you're not actually completely on the floor - takes a lot of pressure off the pose).

So there I was, unassisted in the full pose and I remember thinking "Ouch, the floor's so hard, my forehead hurts!" HAHAHA. I'm by no means a woose but it's funny what your body is used to and when the setting changes, you pick up on the weirdest things.

And that thought was followed by the next, "I can definitely feel my hip rotation here and how misaligned I am." CHRONIC.

I heard Teacher assisting someone else and she called out from behind me "Come back up on your own". Usually, I get assistance with this too - since she's usually raising my legs off the floor, she just flips them up to Dwi Pada Sirsasana. From there, I'm usually able to lift up off my bum on my own, unhook the feet and extend to Tittibhasana.

So I thought, "OK, how hard can this be, right? Just raise the legs up".

FYI - I was trying to get my legs from here: here:

(Photo credits here)
(But of course Arjuna is already lifting his bum off the floor. You have to raise legs up there first, then lift the bum off)

I got stuck.

I unbound my hands, put them on the floor, then for the life of me it was like my brain to body circuitry got crossed and however hard I tried to lift, I was still stuck in the same place.


I tried *FULL BANDHA ENGAGE* mode, that didn't work.

I tried lifting up the head, sending the energy upwards to the sky, that didn't work.

I tried pushing hands and fingertips into the floor and raising up through the hands, that didn't work.

And then I continued laying there in the same position, looking as if I was just stuck there and nothing had happened even though I'd gone through all of the above. Then I started laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation (yes, my legs were still bound behind my head at this point).

I literally couldn't do anything except be the sleeping tortoise (that's the English translation of its Sanskrit name).

Then Teacher called out something, I couldn't quite hear what it is but I think she said "Uncross your feet"... So I did that and just lifted straight to Tittibhasana. *KWA KWA KWA* (that's the "Game Over" sound effect). I was trying to do the pose the "proper" way. Unhooking the feet just felt like a cop-out.

I remember feeling a similar way the first time she flipped me up to Dwi Pada and told me to lift my bum up off the floor. The same brain-to-body wires got crossed and I was like... Say whaaaaaat?! But once I got that bandha and drishti connection, the lift happened and something just clicked in the body. So... I'm hoping with this it will come too.

Oh well... something new to work on now. Isn't it cool, how you just keep refining a pose? Just when you think you've "got" something, you then realize "Hang on, that's not even IT. There's MORE!"


  1. HA! The floor in your shala IS really hard! I know the bamboo is good for practice but - HARD. I'd invest in a big thick heavy manduka if I were going there regularly :)

    And "Hang on, that's not even IT. There's MORE!" is SO the feeling I had in kapotasana today. Having only done it assisted, I couldn't comprehend the full effect of doing it solo until now!

    Hooray for the learning journey :)

  2. AHAHA! Good point. But you're right, I was indeed on my thick Black Mat, but it was still hard and felt like the floor. Oh my sensitive forehead! Hehe. CONGRATS ON KAPOTASANA! :D

  3. Is it OK if I just had a giggle at your expense?? Wish I could've been a fly on the wall..... I've never been left fully in the pose like that - funny, what we take for granted, isn't it?

    That's something to add to the list - working on the proper solo legs-behind-head entry. At least I cross my feet now. I used to not bother in home practice, knowing I'd get the assist next time I was at the shala.

  4. Of course it's OK for you to have an all-out laugh at me, I did too! It was funny that I didn't even know what to do with myself - considered rolling over onto the side for a split-second to get out of it. I dunno why I didn't think to unhook the feet first. And you're right... I don't even bother TRYING to get legs behind the head or even figuring out how that might work... coz well, someone's always gonna assist me with it, innit? ;p


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