Garbha Pindasana is one of the core or gateway postures in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series, along with Marichyasana D, Supra Kurmasana, and Bad Konasana. Each of these asanas challenges one’s strength and flexibility, especially one’s ability to externally rotate the hips.
If you are familiar with Garbha Pindasana, you will notice that when the legs are in lotus position, most practitioners find that the space to thread the arms through is very limited, which is why it is important to learn how to utilize this space to get the arms through to get into the full variation of the asana.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get into the pose:
Firstly, if you are not sweaty enough, spray water on your legs and arms to reduce the friction between the skin of the limbs. Always begin with your right arm. When you pass the arm through, try to get the arm as parallel as possible to the right shin bone, and as close as possible to the right ankle.
Proceed the same way with the left arm. Here, it will be helpful to use the right hand to push the left knee closer to the chest as this action will create more space for the left arm to pass through. With both arms in, work on bringing the hands as close as possible to the face, with the hands cupping the cheeks, as the chin moves forward. Stay here for 5 deep breaths.
To stay in the posture, you must find balance in the sitting bones, and more importantly, find your connection with your Uddiyana Bandha (belly lock) and Mula Bandha (root lock). To engage the Uddiyana Bandha, the back has to be round, the belly must be actively drawn in, and the shoulders must be slightly pressing down. To engage the Mula Bandha, pull the pelvic floor up, squeeze the legs together, and keep the the toes active. The combination of these two bandhas is what will allow you to find balance as you hold Garbha Pindasana for 5 deep breaths.
When you practice this asana and are having some pain on the knees, you may want to first work on opening the hips first before attempting this asana. It is advisable to stay longer in all the previous poses, especially the Janu Sirsasanas and Marichyasanas — these will prepare you to get into Garbha Pindasana safely.
Enjoy your practice!