I love how Yoga Journal describes this one as a ‘chance to lift the spirits’ … I mean, that’s totally true, but. Let’s just say that it’s really, really challenging to do right and get to that bliss/natural point.
Today though I had a bit of an epiphany while doing it and felt the need to share. If you’re working this one, all of what I say will make sense. If not, bookmark this and save it for when you get there.
So the key among keys with this one, to avoid injury, is to focus on the integrity of the pelvis and the downward tilt of the pubic bone combined with the upward scoop of the coccyx–this energetic balance is absolutely crucial to avoid crunching the lumbar and getting injured over time. To get in touch with this, start with camel and really focus in on that area, pushing the pelvis forward and lifting up out of it.
Head into Kapo gradually–do it at least three times to make all that opening/negotiation with the body worth your while and to get to that zone where the head rests in the soles of the feet.
So you hang out with the hands up, exhaling and reaching back and down–ahaaaaaa! Then, and this is key, when your hands hit the mat behind you, walk them in and keep lifting the head off the floor. Do not plop the head down and drag it toward the feet. Instead walk the hands toward the feet slowly and zero the attention in on the strength residing within the pelvis. Use all of the strength down there, the Mula, the balance between pubic bone and coccyx, to lift, from there. Lift, lift, breath! Walk the hands, keep the head off the floor and keep going like this as long as you can. I started to feel really, really great in there, actually.
Then, when you get the head hanging above the feet, lower the elbows, lower the crown of the head and keep tightening between the legs and in the quads: this is your stability, this is where the Asana is focused. Look into the bottom section of Yoga Journal’s description. What do you see as the organ of benefit? Uterus. (Sorry guys but then again, it’s good for you, too, you’ll see!!)
As an aside, and as I mentioned before in an earlier post, this pose has reduced cramps so much for me that I barely take pain meds. So there is really something to it.
I am writing this because I think people get really hooked on Kapo because it is, as YJ rightly puts, super uplifting. But there are so many ways that it can go wrong in terms of repetitive stress injuries. You gotta keep the spine long in it and you have to start somewhere in stretching it as you bend it. Start with the pelvis. Get in touch with Ms. Mula. Go deep and find her there, waiting to make your poses a lot more enjoyable.