I have been struggling with Pinchamayarasana for fifteen years. My hands went together like the woman's on the right. When I looked at this picture I realized that I was scrunching my shoulders like this woman. A person's shoulders need to be open like the woman on the left with her hands apart. I have started working with opening my shoulders like hers before I go up. It makes all the difference in the world. Even if my hands go together I can work them back apart.
Now Karandavasana is another story. I can get up with my hands apart and put my legs into Padmasana but it takes shoulder strength to stay up and come down in that position. Right now my head is gong into the mat and I have to slide my face across the mat and come into Karandavasana. I can hold it for five breaths and go back up but my head goes back into the mat.
I am going to have to eat my Cheerios!