Trying to stand up

Led was freakin’ hard this morning. I was woken by my Alarm and then seemed to end up rushing to the Shala, the street already thronged with yogis waiting for the Gate to be unlocked. Everything seemed to be happening outside my control, I got my usual spot, but had a tall guy next to me which seemed to make life harder, knocking knees in the Janu’s, bumping him in Garbha and getting beached. It was just one of those days when I couldn’t wait for it to be done and head home back to bed for 2 more hours.

I decided to have a day without exploring or doing anything much, I’ve read, I’ve drunk a lot of Tea out of my new mug, which has pictures of cup cakes on, I’ve rested.

This afternoon once all my flatmates had gone out I decided to play backbends, I don’t want to lose whatever tiny gains I have made during this period of 2 led days in a row then Monday off, so I won’t do dropbacks at the Shala again until Tuesday and I don’t want to waste days getting my rhythm back.

I dropped back and rocked, but my arms are aching, I decided to video my efforts to try and understand A) why Teachers think I should be able to stand, and B) to try and see where I’m going wrong.

I posted a video to YouTube link below now I hope




31 Responses to “Trying to stand up”

  1. V Says:

    You aren’t standing because your mind is playing tricks with you. I can almost see you thinking “I can’t do this” while you are rocking, and then when you launch yourself forwards you give up one split second later. You have to launch yourself like you really mean it. It won’t be pretty, but it will do the job for now.

  2. Keen on Food Says:

    Fantastic! You’re further ahead of me, your arms are straight and at least you can get your hands off the floor, keep trying I think you can do it to. Adam is going to take a look too.


  3. Keen on Food Says:

    I think your back looks open enough to do this. Just with a brief look it seems the front of your thighs are tight instead (don’t know what the name of the muscle is here – hip flexors I think in layman’s terms). I would suggest some time each day in supta virasana would help.


    • Globie Says:

      Looking at it I think the more I rock the lower my hips get, so I think I need to go for it sooner. I get a deeper backbend at the Shala, but I’m more tired by the time I get to backbends.

  4. The Un-Ashtangi Says:

    It looks like you’re trying to come up with your head first which is not helping. Once you start rocking your head is lifted as if trying to see where you’re going πŸ™‚

    Try keeping your head back for as long as possible. Maybe even put something down on the floor that you can focus on as you come up and keep looking at it until you’re standing.

  5. Linda Says:

    That looks great! I’m sure you can do it, you just need to believe in yourself. Think strong legs and strong bandhas. And try to learn to do it so that if you don’t come up you just fall back into Urdhva Dhanurasana instead of tumbling to the floor πŸ˜‰ And I agree with Un-Ashtangi, try to keep your head down, it shuld be the last part to come up.

  6. yogicaroline Says:

    I think your back is open but your shoulders look a little tight. try the Susan (trademarked!) hanging-off-the-bed trick pre-practice. if you could walk your hands nearer to your feet I think you’d pop right up.

    • Globie Says:

      Hi Caroline,

      In the Shala I can walk my hands in further after over an hour of practice, but I’m getting tired by then. At home I have more energy but my back isn’t as open. It feels like it should be possible.

  7. yogicaroline Says:

    K, have you tried to work through the fear at all? can you articulate what you are afraid of? I don’t mean here, to us, but to yourself.

    asana is supposed to teach us something, I know I said this other day on twitter but there is no point doing asana to get better at asana. what are you learning from the process of working on backbends?

    I think you need to dig a little deeper, maybe some self-inquiry and self-reflection, rather than focusing solely on the physical form of the pose. like S said at conference last week, asana comes one day and goes away another: ‘don’t worry about asana’.

  8. Cara-Kali Says:

    This is what worked for me:

    1. Stand up the moment after you drop back. In other words, use the momentum from the drop-back to come up. Exhale down (placing the hands as close to the feet as possible), Inhale up.

    2. As you do this, push off with your hands, and put all of the weight into the feet.

    3. Think “forward” – not “up.” As in, “I’m pushing the body *forward*.” Not “I’m trying to stand up.”

  9. Cara-Kali Says:


    The other thing that worked was looking over at the image of Ganesh or Lord Ram (on the glass near the waiting room) and offering up the attempt to them. Then the mind was no longer attached to the outcome

  10. Claire Says:

    Like you I struggled to stand up for a long time, with my teacher telling me i was capable of doing it physically. It was fear holding me back – fear of falling and hurting myself, fear of falling in a dramatic way and looking like a fool, fear of exposing myself really trying hard to do something, infront of a group of people. Eventually, I realised it is beautiful to really try to do something, really commit to it 100%, even if you fail. That thought seemed to help the fear fade into the background and of course if you really commit to something 100% you are less likely to fail. The split second of doubt and fear when trying to stand up from dropbacks had been my problem. So, my pep talk to myself before standing from dropbacks now is – engage legs, hips forward, STRONG inhale to stand up and COMMIT TO IT! Surrender and effort. It works for me. Good luck. x

    • globie Says:

      Thanks Claire,

      They are exactly my fears, especially in these surroundings with so many people who make it look so effortless.
      Vanessa was right in the first comment about almost bailing out as soon as I launch, not fully committing through fear mainly of hurting myself.

  11. donutszenmom Says:

    Cara’s advice is what helped me: come back up on the momentum of the drop back. Drop back on a huge exhale and include a deep stretch as you rock into the chest at the bottom, then float back up on a huge inhale.

  12. Clare Says:

    I struggled for years trying to stand up, the two things that helped me were:

    1- Try and land your drop back with your hands as close to your feet as possible. Whilst walking in helps, trying to open the upper back more on the way down makes a lot of difference for me.

    2- Try and stand up as soon as possible, keeping the engagement and control that gets you down and using it to bring you back up. If you do 1, so you don’t have to walk your hands in, you can just snap back up again.

    I’m sure I wrote a post when I was on the verge of being able to come up on my own, about how I couldn’t see myself as one of those people who could just smoothly go up and down; but suddenly it was a reality for me from doing the two things above.

    Good luck!

  13. grimmly Says:

    This feels akin to teaching a child to swim, by just chucking it in the deep end and saying off you go, can’t be good falling like that, surely your going to throw a knee out sooner or later. From here it looks as if you need to walk in further, hell of an ask to throw yourself up from there, you can do it and I think the first time I came up it was a little like that so it’s possible. I feel you need to walk in a little further but that demands more leg strength to come up from deeper rather than just relying on momentum, make the most of the half squats, utkatasana in Standing, do some extra at home putting most of the weight as you go down and up on one leg the other just for keeping you steady, do loads of em, stay down for ten, twenty breaths, a few days of that might make all the difference. Hips forward is a mantra for me and i really think practicing at home you should drop back close to the wall and then as you try coming up tap off the wall it’ll show you where your hips need to be and the shifting of the weight. But that’s just what works for me, get the feeling everyone finds their own way to drop back and come up nobody seems to do it exactly the same. good luck with it.

  14. Ragdoll Says:

    No advice from me, but huge amounts of empathy! Drawing parallels with my headstand saga – the imbalance between what your body can do, and what your mind will let you do.

  15. Claudia Says:

    So grateful you posted this, and to read all the comments! I am coming back into practice after months of sickness so remembering this part is good!

    I felt for you on the fall, really sympathize! wishing you all success!

  16. Helen Says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Wow, your back has opened a lot since I first saw your back bends. Great to have some time to work on this, although it is the journey not the outcome that is important, as we all know.

    As the others say it is the shoulders and the hip flexors that are a bit tight but they are way more open than they used to be. You can work on these within the backbend at the shala. That said I think the main reason you fall is because you lift the head. I watched it a few times and managed to pause it at a moment where you were almost up but your head was lifted. That weight shift will bring you down. I think your still thinking up not forward and thus you are trying hard but in the wrong direction.

    When rocking forward try and keep your legs as straight as you can. Also I know Cary has told you to keep your head back but your not doing it, as soon as you start to rock you lift it slightly.

    I worry about the fall as it is random and you could hurt yourself. Keep your arms in urdva dhanurasana until you know you have shifted the weight enough forward. That way you can reland rather than fall. Hope this helps.


    • globie Says:

      Hi Helen

      Thanks for looking at this and trying to work out what’s going wrong. I can feel my shoulders have got more open when I do Prasarita C. How can I work on the Hip flexors during the backbend?

      Watching again I see what you mean about the head. I think once I begin to lift I get desperate to get up. I also noticed that the more I rock, my hips seem to get lower, so I think I need to go for it earlier, before my hips drop.

      I will try and remember to keep my arms back, but when I fall its always on to the right shoulder , so I’m twisting at some point also.

      • daydreamingmel Says:

        I agree with helen, your backbends are way deeper than i’ve seen before – but to see where you twist just go to 1.11 on the video – right arm comes right up, left is still only just off the mat, and it’s at that point you kind of fling and then fall. I’ve been told that when I rock 3 times I makes the last rock the smallest one because I’m scared to let it bring me up. Don’t know if maybe you’re doing the same, try rocking less times but with more power maybe. And as Caroline and Helen so rightly put it, the process is what’s important not the end result πŸ™‚

  17. Globie Says:

    Hi Mel,

    I think you mean the left arm comes up. The ones where I have been closest to doing it have been when I have tried on an earlier rock when my hips are still higher.

    The process is getting painful, so a result soon would be nice πŸ™‚

    • daydreamingmel Says:

      haha yes, i meant the left! however you do it you need to stop falling like that though or you’ll really hurt yourself. it sounds counter-intuitive but maybe you need to stop trying so hard, let go of the end result.

      • globie Says:

        It’s hard to stop trying so hard when Sharath is going to be standing at the top of my mat telling me to stand up. I wish I could relax more while trying to do it, “less thinking” as Ruth at AYL used to tell me.

  18. Helen Says:

    Hi Kev,

    No worries. I am loving reading your blog while you’re away so it is nice to be able to give back. I don’t always have time to comment but I am following along. I even dreamt of mysore last night!

    It is great that Sharath believes in you and is helping you with this but don’t let that translate to you pushing your body too hard. You have a responsibility to look after your body, IMO. I see Mel is right you lift one of your hands which is why you land twisted. You need to stop that!

    “I think once I begin to lift I get desperate to get up. ” You hit the nail on the head there I think and gravity will just bring you down until your further forward. Instead of even trying to go up take a couple of rocks and then do one strong one but don’t try and stand just try and come forward. This is still trying hard!

    To work your psoas more in backbends. Come up just to your head and engage your legs strongly so that you feel it on the top of your thighs. Then keep that feeling and strong legs as you come up into urdva dhanurasana, you should feel it stretching. Also notice how your legs bend when you rock forward, this is normal but try to minimise it by keeping legs straight and strong as possible, you will feel this there too.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy the journey.

  19. susananda Says:

    Hey Kev. Great looking backbend and hangback, much deeper!
    Agreed you should be able to do it, and agreed you’re still lifting your head. Stop it πŸ™‚
    Main tight area for me is still shoulders – more hanging off the bed. If you want to work on hip flexors too, do extracurricular lunges.
    I was wondering about the twisting – you know when I’ve told you that you’re not straight in UD, that your head is bent over towards the tighter shoulder? That will make you not come up straight. Are you always twisting to the same side, and is it the tighter side? I would investigate this with a mirror, and whilst hanging off the bed.
    Keep going! And good that pasasana is easy πŸ™‚

    • Globie Says:

      Hi Susan,

      Glad you have dropped in with this one.

      The actual dropbacks are good,especially at the Shala, I have gained way more control from somewhere.

      I have been doing plenty of bed hanging and also Supta Vajrasana that Adam suggested for the thighs and hips.

      Problem with my head is that I have no feeling that it is bent over, so when you or Cary have tweaked it, that then feels wrong it’s my left shoulder that feels tighter, so does that make sense with the twisting to the right every time?

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