Garbha Pindasana, Embryo in the Womb Pose, is one of those funny-looking yoga poses that make you go mmmmh?!
Yep, you heard it right: Embryo in the Womb Pose. Do baby yogis sit in Lotus Pose (and hold their ears) while in-utero? I don’t know (and definitely not my babies, from what I saw on the ultrascans!), but hey, that won’t prevent us from having fun with this kinda crazy yoga posture.
What is the Embryo in the Womb Pose?
Garbha Pindasana comes from the Sanskrit “Garbha”, uterus or womb, and “Pinda”, embryo. It is a variation of Lotus Pose, Padmasana, or Kukkutasana, Rooster Pose. Basically, Embryo in the Womb Pose is a buttock-balancing Padmasana, with arms going into the (very) small space behind the knees, and the hands coming out in front.
I think a picture here is worth a thousand words:
Why do Embryo in the Womb Pose?
Wondering what are the benefits of compacting your body into an itty-bitty ball – like an embryo in the womb – AND trying to balance on your butt while trying to hold on to your ears? Sounds pretty crazy.
Well here goes: the benefits of Garbha Pindasana:
- Garbha Pindasana is a deep forward fold, which also requires enough hip opening to do Lotus Pose.
- It also works the deep abdominals (to stay in a compact ball).
- And Embryo in the Womb Pose also works your sense of humor, because honestly, when you’re trying to get into Garbha Pindasana (or its simpler variations that I’ll post about shortly) in yoga class – or right in front of a mirror, it’s hard not to laugh out loud! Crazy Yogis!
How to do Garbha Pindasana?
Start in Padmasana, Lotus Pose.
If Padmasana isn’t part of your practice yet, you can do a half lotus pose – one leg in lotus, or cross your legs in Sukhasana, with your feet as close as possible just below the knees.
(Important note: don’t force on your knees to get into Padmasana. Work on hip opening instead with postures such as Half Lotus, Marichyasana, Janu Sirsasana, Baddha Konasana, Supine Figure 4 Pose (Thread the Needle), Fire Log Pose…)
From Padmasana, thread your arms through the (tight!) space between the lower legs and the thighs, as if coming into Kukkutasana. Go all the way until the elbow! Sometimes it helps to go sideways, rather than straight. Some yogis also wet their forearms (to help slide). And if you’re a bracelet-wearing yogi like me, take them off!
From there, bend your elbows and grab your ears with your hands! I haven’t found my ears yet in Garbha Pindasana, so I put my hands in prayer or gyan mudra!
Then, to come out of Garbha Pindasana, put your hands on the ground and pull your arms out from your Lotus. OR, stay in the pose, curl up into a tighter ball, and roll back and forth on your yoga mat. You can also roll in a circle – usually done clockwise in the Astanga Yoga first series. It’s a super nice back massage and a very energizing movement!
Who’s a Happy Embryo after rolling around in Garbha Pindasana?