There are several poses in the Ashtanga Primary series that we measure our progress on, some of them being: Supta Kurmasana, Garbha Pindasana and my strongest opponent to date ….. Marichyasana D. The former I can see slow and continued progress in my practice the latter, well frankly I’m stuck. I remember it took me long enough to get to grips with Marichyasana B, learning to be patient as my tight hips began to open and battling with half lotus to finally get to the stage where my foot no longer hurt in the pose. Managing to get bound in Mariychasana C was also a big learning curve, so when I finally got to grips with those two poses I thought Marichyasana D would be a natural progression, well was I wrong!
Put the foot into half lotus – check, bending the opposite knee – check, starting to twist – check, and this is when it all starts to go wrong. The length I had in my spine in Marichyasana C seems to have disappeared, and the minute I start to contemplate binding my body shrivels to half its size no matter how hard I try to keep my spine straight. And I’m sure my arms shrink as the gap between my hands when trying to bind is enormous – and on my left side I can’t even get my elbow over the knee. Maybe all this is the physical manifestation of how the pose makes me feel mentally, small and intimidated. There have been times where I have experienced the full pose with the assistance of Potts who has taken pity on my struggles. Potts manages to get me into the pose and I am literally gripping my fingers for dear life and using all my might to stay upright, as at any moment I feel if I let go I will all fall into a million pieces. I do have to laugh when he says “breathe” … Yes Potts I would love to but it’s just not happening.
The theory is we combine Marichyasana B and C into a beautiful pose representing Marichi who is the great-grandfather of Manu (“man, thinking, intelligent”), the Vedic Adam, and the “father” of humanity. Literally Marichi means ray of light. On my adjustment days in Mysore I have observed others go into this pose with absolute lightness and ease, looking peaceful and relaxed representing the pose in its fully glory.
Me … well I’m still looking for the ability to bind and breathe in the pose. To quote the great Sri K Pattabhi Jois “Practice yoga and all is coming” and I have faith in yoga that it will come in time …
Teacher Trainee 2011