My wrists were hurting me in backbends, but only sometimes. After being really bummed out about it for a bit, it dawned on me that they were only hurting me when my back wasn’t bending enough to get my hands flat on the floor and my arms in a fairly straight line, close to perpendicular to the floor. And so, I have decided that it’s not my wrists at all, nor my shoulders, but my back. It needs to bend more.
Someone suggested to me that the best thing for getting better at Kapo isn’t “the big crank”, but pressing up, up, up in Kapo B. I’m practicing mostly at home these days and have been experimenting with pressing up, up, up in Kapo B. In fact, I haven’t even been bothering with Kapo A. I really want to emphasize getting my chest higher, higher higher before I even bother walking my hands in. I mean, hell, I know that I can be cranked into it. But what I really want to be able to do is to get myself into it and then to BE in it. And that is never going to happen until my chest opens and makes space for my back to bend more.
On Sunday, I experimented with pressing UP into Kapo B, as in from the the ground, as if I were pressing up into Urdhva Dhanurasana. Basically, I got into Supta Virasana (reclining hero’s pose) and pressed up. That didn’t get me very far at first. But it did warm me up to drop back into a better Kapo B. And patience helped. The first few breaths don’t feel right. But it gets better. Then I had the idea to go from Urdhva Dhanurasana INTO Kapotasana B. I did a couple of UD’s, warming things up nicely, and then I lowered one shin to the ground at a time.
VOILA!!! DEEPEST Kapo B ever.
So, to summarize, for anyone working with backbending issues who might want to try it at home:
1. Hanumanasana and Samakonasana after the Prasarita Padotanasanas. DO NOT sit down in Samakonasana unless your legs are at 180 degrees. Once you sit, the stretch is pretty much over. If you can keep supporting yourself with your hands, you keep the stretch going. Same with the rear leg in Hanumanasana. That is the one that relates to backbending. Make sure it is straight out behind you, not reaching around to the side. Otherwise, you’re just avoiding the stretch that you really need. And if you can’t lower your groin to the floor, the hold yourself up with your hands. If you’re holding yourself up with your hands, then there is no need to fold over or to try to reach the hands skyward. Just work on stretching the groin and the hamstrings.
2. Try getting the back to bend BEFORE pressing up. For some people, that is obvious and easy. For people like me, not so much.
3. Try all sorts of permutations of backbends. From the floor. With the shins on the floor. With the elbows on the floor. Stretch the front body any way you can.
And that concludes today’s session of “The Blind Leading The Blind”.