Posted by: kerryalina | 27 March 2012

Challenge Class 38: Confession

You guys, I have a confession to make.  A deep, dark, horrible secret that I’ve kept even from myself.  After nearly a year of Bikram, I finally have to admit… I just don’t get Rabbit pose.

I mean, I can do it.  At least, I think so?  It’s hard to tell when you can’t look around at everyone else.  And I have zero proprioception, so if I can’t see myself in the mirror I have very little idea of what my body’s doing.  But my chin is definitely to my chest, my head is touching with my knees, and it doesn’t feel like there’s too much weight on it.  I have hands-palms flat grip on my heels (thumbs outside fingers inside), my stomach’s sucked in and my thighs – from what I can tell – are nearly perpendicular to the floor.  I’ve never been given a correction in this posture, so I must not be doing anything horribly wrong.

BUT… what the hell am I supposed to achieve by pulling my heels?  It just makes my arms tired!  I truly can’t grasp the idea behind it and I’m not really doing anything there.  I mean, it’s not the most comfortable posture to begin with – I spend 90% of it trying to avoid suffocation as my bust obeys the laws of gravity and settles ever closer to my nose.  But surely there’s more to this asana than just hanging out and waiting for it to be over?


Over the past (nearly) year, I’ve found that the poses I was awesome at when I started are the ones that I’ve since worked my ass off to perfect.  The ones I was initially challenged by, I knew exactly what needed to be done to improve them and I worked hard at it.  But there are a handful of poses – Rabbit, Fixed Firm, Eagle – where I was pretty good to begin with.  You know.  Nothing special, but I could do them just fine.  These are the ones I’m now realising I’ve made zero progress on.  I treat them like fillers – something to be endured with a sigh until a more interesting pose comes along.  And it’s a travesty because, as we know, every single posture in the series has been scientifically formulated to blahdeblahdeblah.  By not taking full advantage of each and every pose, I’m denying myself the opportunity to… um.  You know what?  I have no idea.  But I’m sure that if I did the poses properly, I’d have more of a clue.

So.  My shiny new resolution is to focus more on the ho-hum poses; to see what wondrous secrets I can pry out of their depths.  And if any of you have a super tip for Rabbit pose to help me on my way, I’d definitely appreciate it!



  1. Is it…meant to be…opening your lower back first, and then the rest? I’m not sure with this at all because to be honest, my shoulders are too tight for me to actually get my grip until I’m all the way down on my legs, before raising my hips. Which means I never feel like I’m doing it right yet! But…I always hope it’s opening my lower back? Just so it gives some release from the back bends before!

    If you think about what you’re trying to achieve in any forward bend, from what I can gather it’s about re-aligning and re-assembling your spine so each vertebrae is seperate again from the others, not fusing together or all wonky and out of line. This is the image I try to conjure doing rabbit. When I pull, I want the vertebrae to be stretching apart from each other.

    Does this help? If anyone thinks this is completely wrong let me know!

    • Ummmm… it works theoretically (although from what my teachers say, the lower back is actually the hardest/last part to stretch in forward bends). What I don’t understand though – from a physical/engineering perspective – is just how pulling on my heels will stretch my vertebrae? It already feels like I’m trying to drive my face into my knees; how does pulling them actually achieve anything once my forehead is touching and my hips are up? *confused*

      • This is where I get stuck too, because I can’t get my grip right to start with. I think it’s about taking the weight in your heels/hands connection rather than your neck and head, and the rolling forward is to stretch?

        Rabbit confuses my mind as well, glad to know I’m not alone!

  2. I find the rabbit easy too and thought I was getting it wrong for a while. They say that you should push harder in every posture. Perhaps this one is about breathing?

    • Ooooh that’s an idea! I’ll definitely focus on my breath tonight and see what happens – thanks!

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