Sunday, 14 November 2010

Marichyasana you or don't you?

A(nother) speed post while I continue to process thoughts & reflections from my time in Thailand...(it is coming, really it is - the problem is there's just too much to say, and not all of it suitable for a public airing!!).

After practice today I asked C about Mari D. As I can now bind at the wrist (well, most days) I asked if I should be slackening off the wrist bind to try and get the bent leg hip to the ground - if I try to take the hip down with the deep bind I lose my balance, so what is the priority? It's only recently (like in the past week or so) that I noticed it feels slightly possible that the hip could come down to the ground so I have been wondering about this. C's answer was interesting; she said that she only teaches hip down when you have finished primary. So as she said, next year when you've finished primary, and been finished with it for a while - then yes, that's how I'd teach it, to slacken off the bind to allow the hip to come down (and then eventually of course we'd hope to get the wrist bind back again). She also said that it's probably because I have been doing my new postures (upavistha konasana, supta konasana) that I can feel the possibility of this happening, as there is some of the same action (I can't remember exactly what she said about this, and it doesn't make much sense to me at the moment...). I also asked her about getting the lotus leg hip to the ground in Mari B, saying that if my knee is up should I not be taking my head right down to the ground? Of course the answer is no, so she's going to take a look at it tomorrow (whoops, I hate asking a question that means I'll get pummelled for something on my next practice, but at least I will know then.)

In other news, a visit to my cranial osteopath on Friday (who also happens to practice & teach yoga) led to a demonstration of a new approach to baddha konasana which I got to try out in practice today. I have been really battling with this one, and every day as I come out of it,adjusted or not, I feel slightly like I'm walking away from the wreckage of a car accident (drama queen, moi?). There have been tears, ragged breath, panic, pain, name it, baddha k has it all for me. So he had me go into it (just the legs) and asked me where the tension is. Right in the hips/pelvic region was the answer, so he told me to roll the flesh away from the sitbones (oh yes, that favourite trick of all non-ashtanga yoga teachers...) and to lift up from the tailbone, and the pubic bone will lift with it. Then rather than trying to push the knees DOWN as I have been doing, he said to take them OUT in the direction they are pointing, and then engage uddiyana bandha to create the space before even thinking of going forward....and going forward lead with the chest, being aware of the space that's been created. Probably none of this is even approaching revolutionary, but as he reinforced each point to me as he added one more instruction at a time, and I sat in the posture all the while we were talking, he pointed out that my hips had opened even in that short time. And, more to the point, it felt SO different, and altogether more comfortable than my past experiences. Of course there's no room in a Mysore context for all of this fiddling about, but today I tried just to focus on some of these points (happily I wasn't adjusted) and again it felt so so different; it probably helped that I spent a long period sitting in baddha k last night but could it be that I am over my major traumas with this asana? As the osteo pointed out, hate is a very strong word to bring to your practice, so maybe I can kiss it good bye for now. Here's hoping anyway.


  1. No longer "Baddie Konasana" then Mel, that's good. It took me a long time to feel any degree of comfort or release in BK, one day you will love that deep teachers squish as I do now.

  2. Your osteo sounds superb. Reading his instructions again, they are spot on, and soon it won't take any fiddling and you'll do all these things automatically as you go in (till then, I would say YES there's room for fiddling!) And he is right about the word hate too.

    Right, see you in.... 40 minutes?!

  3. Yep that's right kev, no more baddies...I'm not saying I love it yet but there is no room for demonising or hating asanas anymore. Lesson learnt!!
    I'm pretty lucky to have found him I think Susan, it's great to go to someone who understands the need for a yoga range of movement not just an everyday one if you know what I mean. And asana tips are a huge added bonus! no adjustemnt in bk again today so I got the chance to work on it myself and it is really so different just for having this extra awareness. Interesting point from C about Mari D too I thought (though probably only usefull to me, with my not finished primary status!)

  4. Some asanas scare me (dropback), some bore me (Warriors), some make me smile (Supta K) but I can't say I actualy hate any.

    Your Osteo does sound good, it's hard to find ashtanga friendly Therapists, luckily I have one as well.

    I'm sure his BK instructions will soon become automatic, but on days when its a struggle they will help.

  5. Next time I feel like I need to try something, I think I'll try your osteo. Could you talk to Cary about this experience, because maybe she would adjust you more gently and encourage your knees out more? You know, feedback from adjustees is really useful, even for experienced teachers like Cary. It might help her find a way to help other people tortured by the pose.

    And I totally forgot to comment on the mari D thing (6:30 am short attention span?).. I never knew that! If I see someone in a really good mari D like yours it's my natural inclination to give them the next step, regardless of what else is going on with their practice. I consider myself pretty by-the-book, but sometimes I do wonder... for instance I wanted to do dropbacks with backbendy D, who isn't doing them because she hasn't finished primary... and I wouldn't be teaching them to ujjayi-challenged V. But I take on board all Cary's rules when in her room :)

  6. I agree with Susananda, plenty room for fiddling in Mysore!