Why Can’t I Bind Supta Kurmasana And Pasasana?

August 8, 2023

Transcript of: Why can’t I bind supta kurmasana and pasasana?

Hey everybody! Welcome to this month’s question of the month. I’m David Keil, of course. If you’ve got a question and you want me to answer it here, go to yoganatomy.com/myquestion and I’ll answer it for you. This month’s question comes from Georgia and it’s about how to bind in supta kurmasana and pasasana.

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The Question:

“Hello David, Thank you so much for all of your wonderful yoga articles and information firstly. They are greatly appreciated. [DK: You’re welcome!]

I have been practicing Mysore-style for a few years now and my teacher has moved me on through second series up to eka pada—at my furthest point. Although, after a break I am only going up to dhanurasana currently. [DK: So, you’ve taken a little break from practice.]

I have never been able to bind on my own in supta kurmasana or pasasana, which I struggle with daily. Although I can stand up from drop backs on my own, I feel like an imposter doing poses because there feels like there must be something I am doing wrong. I cannot squat very low either so my transition back from bujapidasana and supta kurmasana does not go through a good titibhasana, although I do my best. [DK: I’m sure you do!] I can jump back but have to put my feet on the floor during the transition. So, I just wondered if you know of other people with these binding problems and if you could offer me any advice at all?
Best wishes, Georgia”

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The Answer:

Of course Georgia, I will offer you advice. There are a few things that are mixed together in here with respect to why it might be difficult to bind supta kurmasana and pasasana. It’s not just the lift and jump part. I’m not sure I understand how the squat is connected to that. But, I’m willing to put it aside anyway.

Proportions matter

When it comes to lifting up and jumping back, proportions are always something that we should pay attention to. If you have short arms and long femurs or a long torso, that can make it a little bit more difficult or complicated. And certainly, pasasana is a very difficult posture to bind in. The other thing to keep in mind is, how big your thighs are relative to the length of your arms, can have an impact on that. How deep you get your armpit to your knee as you go in will affect how much that arm rotates and can bind.

Getting the torso to the knee

So, there’s two things. One is the possibility of just proportions, bone length. Number two being, how tightly you get your torso to your knee in pasasana, or your armpit on the outside of that knee. The more gap you have, the harder it’s going to be to bind. Which, if we bring that back to kurmasana, or supta kurmasana, also if your knees are falling out too much while you’re trying to bind, they’re going to make it harder. Your knees have to squeeze in a little bit. That is sometimes just a matter of a couple of inches difference. And, that couple of inches difference makes your arm farther away from the other hand that it’s trying to bind to.

Shoulder flexibility

Supta kurmasana is a complicated posture to get into here. And then of course, there is also the possibility that it is a matter of flexibility in terms of literal rotation at the shoulder joint for binding. Which, you’re going to have the shoulder rotation, and then you’re going to have a scapular movement on top of that. So these two combine together in these types of bindings, just to keep that in mind.

Hip flexion

The other thing that connects supta kurmasana and pasasana together regarding how we bind them, is kind of what I mentioned, but I’ll say it a different way, which is how far you get your armpit or your torso to your knee. What we’re really talking about here is hip flexion. And kurmasana and supta kurmasana require very deep hip flexion. In fact, in my book Functional Anatomy of Yoga, I talk about that as kind of like beyond normal flexion in the sense that it’s deeper than a regular paschimottanasana because you’re putting your torso through your legs.

So, the amount of hip flexion that you have—and when you do pasasana in a squat, it’s also deep hip flexion—there might be something there. And, it’s not going to be just your hamstrings because when you’re in pasasana, the hamstrings are really out of the game because you bent your knees as well. So, take a look for that. One there are proportions. There is the flexibility of internal rotation, how much you can internally rotate the shoulder joint and how much your shoulder blade moves along with it. Those are all good pieces to look at when you’re trying to bind. And, you should be working on each one of these as you make your way in. And then last, but not least, is that hip flexion. That’s the depth to which you get your armpit/torso to your knee.

Alright! I hope that helps. Anybody else, if you’ve got a question, go to yoganatomy.com/myquestion and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button.