The Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series is a beautiful sequence of yoga postures that assist practitioners in creating and maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit. The seated sequence in Ashtanga’s first series is made up of a beautiful array of asanas that help one build up strength, stamina, flexibility, endurance and grace. Garbha Pindasana and Kukkutasana warrant our attention for their unique physiological and psychological effects.
Click here to watch the YouTube tutorial for Garbha Pindasana and Kukkutasana
Step-by-Step Instructions for yoga postures Garbha Pindasana and Kukkutasana
We will be entering this posture from downward facing dog, having just taken a vinyasa after Supta Kurmasana to seated position.
Start from down dog. Inhale as you look forward and walk or hop your feet through your hands to have a seat on the floor. Stretch your legs out in front of you.
On your exhale, bring your legs into lotus posture (bring your right leg into half lotus, then your left). Exhale there. As you inhale, take your left hand to the ground to balance and lift your lotus up. Slide your right arm through your half lotus right leg and then your left. Balance on your sits bones as reach your hands to your ears. Breathe here for five deep breaths. Look in between your eyebrows (third eye).
Inhale as you shift your hands to your forehead. Tuck your head towards your hands and round your back. On your next exhale, roll down, in a clockwise direction. Inhale as you roll your body back up. Repeat 9 times. Make sure to roll down as you exhale, and up as you inhale. Also make sure you are rolling on the muscles next to your spine and not directly on your spine. Gaze in between your eyebrows (third eye).
Inhale as you roll your body up a fifth and final time. Push your hands down into the floor in front of you and press your body up. Balance on your hands. If possible, keep your legs in lotus position. Breathe here for five deep breaths. Look in between your eyebrows (third eye).
Inhale, drop your hips back to the ground, release your legs and free your arms. Cross your legs and lift your body up off the ground.
Exhale as you jump back into low plank position.
Inhale into upward facing dog.
Exhale into downward facing dog.
Tap above or click here to watch the YouTube tutorial for Garbha Pindasana and Kukkutasana
Modifications for Garbha Pindasana and Kukkutasana
Hold Ankles: Instead of taking the full expression in lotus position, you may cross your legs and grab your opposite foot with your opposite hand (right hand to left foot and left hand to right foot). This greatly reduces the complexity of the pose while still offering a stretch and compression in the abdominal area.
Assist: Have your yoga instructor help you with the transition from the static seated position into the roll and/or lift into kukkutasana. Your instructor can offer support and guidance as you work on finding your balance.
Skip Rolling: Instead of rolling back and forth 9x after your five breaths in static position, you can practice the seated position with your legs crossed and hold your feet in leu or rocking up and down. This can aid your focus on the hip opening and spinal flexion without the challenge of rolling.
Bend Your Knees: Instead of taking full lotus as you lift, cross your legs and press your feet and hips off the ground or you can even by lifting your feet off the ground while keeping your hips grounded. This can make the pose more accessible as you first start to work with this posture..
Practice Leg Extension Only: Instead of lifting your entire body off the ground, or keeping legs in lotus and lifting up, you may extend one leg at a time while allowing the other foot to stay grounded. This minimizes the challenge of balancing and allows you to build strength in the arms and core.
Partner Assistance: Ask your yoga instructor assist you in lifting your feet off the ground. They can offer guidance and assistance as you work on finding your balance.
Honor your body and start with variations that will help you build up the necessary strength, endurance, stamina, balance and control necessary for the full expression. Be sure to check out our YouTube yoga tutorial on Garbha Pindasana and Kukkutasana for some great modifications for working into this posture.
The domain of Ashtanga Yoga’s seated postures, epitomized by Garbha Pindasana and Kukkutasana, embodies a transformative expedition towards self-discovery. Embrace the journey with persistence and mindfulness, acknowledging that progress materializes through dedicated practice. As you acquaint yourself with these postures, relish the unfolding connection between body, mind, and spirit that this practice unfailingly unveils.
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