This week’s posture is a challenging one indeed. The posture, Ghanda Bherundasana in Padmasana comes from our PVYU advanced level II syllabus. To get into it requires a decent amount of upper body strength, back flexibility, and the ability to comfortably hold the legs in lotus while upside down. The good news is that the balance element looks harder than it really is…since the chin is locked on the floor, it’s really pretty similar to a tripod headstand. However, I find that having the chin on the ground makes it slightly more difficult to get the legs to a vertical position to complete the pose.
Here it is:
If you want to try this one, the first step along the way will be to gain some confidence with the formidable pose. If you missed it, you can check out a tutorial here: https://pranavayuyoga.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/postural-inspiration-the-formidable-pose/
Once you’ve gotten confident with your balance in the formidable pose you can attempt to thread the legs into lotus position while upside down. If you’re flexible enough to lie on your belly while in padmasana, you can prepare for this by practicing Simhasana. For those of you not familiar with this pose, you can see it being demonstrated below by the inimitable Bill Counter (if you’re wondering, the tongue out part is optional).
Once you’ve pressed into the Simhasana you can increase your range of motion if you focus on sliding the breastbone upward and over the heart in a backbending motion while stretching isometrically backward through your knees. Overall, this action of engaging the sternum and femur line in this way places more bend in the thoracic spine and gives a solid stretch to the hip-flexors. Since both of these requirements are present in any inverted lotus posture, I think that you’ll find that using it Simhasana as a preparation pose will make it much easier to get your legs into lotus while in the formidable pose.
An Alternative Entrance for the Very Brave…
It’s a little crazy, but you can also enter Ghanda Bherundasana in Padmasana from Simhasana. To do this, you need to roll your body’s weight very quickly forward toward the chest and place the chin on the floor while simultaneously driving strongly downward through your hands. If you roll quickly enough while doing this, you can use the accumulated momentum that you gather to press all the way upward into the final position.
Note to the wise: Get a spotter for this one. 🙂
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