Thursday, April 20, 2006


Why is a good bind so hard to find? WHY? WHY I ask you? Why must Mari D torment me so?

Today, I found that I had to really leeeeeeean into my lotus thigh to allow, what I think is gravity, to draw my back arm behind me far enough to be grabbed by my binding/wrapping arm. The twist does not appear to be the problem. It seems like my shoulders simply still are not reliable loose, permitting my arms to flop around behind me. Will that ever happen? I feel dismayed. Even Mari A and B aren't so easy. Funny though, how Mari C is kind of easy for me now, but I think it is only because my standards are pretty low. In Mari A and Mari B, I get bummed if I can't grab my wrist. In Mari C, I really don't care if I grab my wrist, as long as I feel solidly wrapped up in my own arms. My standards for Mari D are also pretty low. But I just can't stand how difficult it is for me to bring my back arm around now. Not to mention a certain stiffness in my wrapping wrist - what the hell is that about? After repeated tries, I finally found a method that seems to work to get my hands really solidly together - as opposed to hooking fingers, which humiliates me even when I am all by myself in my home as I was today. So, here is the method, for future reference:

1. Take a wide lotus so that my heel isn't really in my abdomen - only the ball of my foot.

2. Deeply twist, using the wrapping arm pressing against the elbow, stabilizing self by pressing into the back hand....all of this BEFORE binding.

3. Lean deeply FORWARD into the front foot to take the bind and use hands if necessary to bring both sides of the ribcage to at LEAST level with the bent leg, preferably in FRONT of the bent leg. Solidify the wrap by grabbing a thigh while working on the next step.

4. THEN, and this seems to be the secret ingredient in the recipe, really really lean into the lotus leg before starting to bring the back arm around. This brings the back arm closer to the front arm which is already there waiting.

This method seemed to work. There are two major weight shifts here, the first is forward to wrap the front arm, and the second is into the lotus leg to wrap the back arm. Hopefully this will translate to my practice tomorrow. Hopefully I will HAVE a practice tomorrow with the way my right Trapezius feels as a result of some weird snapping, releasing, opening thing that happened during, of all things, Bhujapidasana.

The good news - there always has to be some good news - My Parivritta Parsvakonasana is ALMOST flat palms to the mat. That would explain why Mari C feels good finally.

Nothing new in Supta K today. Same as yesterday. That's good though. Better than regression.

Worry of the day: I am so stiff that I feel uncomfortable starting my practice without having really stretched myself out first - with Prasarita Pado C and a bound Ardha Matsyandrasana at a minimum. That is not good. That is not the way the system is supposed to work. And it feels kind of obsessive and attached.

Complaint about the system of the day: Not enough lengthening of the hip flexors. My hip flexors CRAVE being stretched out. They are so so constricted in the Marichyasanas. They want to stretch, they want to leap, the want to stretch across the ocean like Hanuman. They want to do Hanumanasana. Today I let them. I pretended I was in Southern California and that this was okay.

Gratuitous additional complaint about the system of the day: Not enough muscular endurance required, specifically in lunging postures like Warrior II. In the classes I teach, my students have to get stronger simply by virtue of being required to hold Warrior I and II for what probably feels to them like a torturous amount of time. I am starting to envy those students. In the Standing Sequence, I am in War I and War II for five breaths, period, end of story. And I really feel like it's not enough.

I need my teacher back. I am falling from the fold. I am a sheep wandering from the flock! I am a planet that has lost its orbit! I am melodramatic!



Ursula said...

Before knowing Supta Kurmasana, Mari C and D was the most difficult asana. I skipped it or I said to myself: what an impossible asana. One day I said to myself I won't judge any asana any more. And this was the first time when I was able to bind. To start loving an asana makes the asana easier. But this is a big task. I like it how precisely you examine all the asanas. It is very helpful.

Sergio said...

That was indeed a precise and helpful breakdown of Mari D! I'm eager to try and apply those advices when I practise later. Thanks for sharing.

It's quite funny to see how some poses start to get better when you deepen your work at other poses that come before in the sequence. It's a proof that the system has a logic behind. However, the opposite can sometimes be true, too: working at poses that come LATER in the sequence can bring improvements in certain poses. Confusing, isn't it?

For me, Warrior I and II are incredibly tough. Not quite as tough as Mari D or Supta K, but I definitely struggle each day to hold them for five breaths. I'd love to look strong and confident and all that while doing it, but I think I fail at that and I'm afraid I must look quite ridiculous.

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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