Ah, Marichi D….what is it about you that makes me so anxious, so keyed up, so poised on the brink of disintegration? And I mean that literally – my practice is feeling so “integrated” right now, each breath defined, controlled, meditative, each spread of the arms, each lunge feeling lengthier, more expansive. And then I find myself nearing the end of the Janu Sirsasanas…and I begin to float away from the present moment. I begin to worry. Will I bind? Will I need help in Marichi B, and if so, what will that do to my confidence in C? And ultimately in D?
I realize so much more than I ever have how each pose leading up to D helps D to happen. And while it is totally cool to see how it all works together, it begins to stress me out as early as Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana. If I can’t bind and fold over and hold the bind, then what does that say about what is to come? The sweat begins to pour off me. I see the drama. I acknowledge the drama. I try not to hate the drama. But I really don’t want the drama.
This is not to say that I am not loving loving loving my Ashtanga practice. I do. And today, it was really a breakthrough day for me at Guy’s. I got there before 9 a.m., I stretched a bit (which actually is NOT a good thing – what I need to do is have the courage to just begin; I mean, at what point is stretching really practicing out of order? At what point is stretching really just nothing more than procrastination?), and I began.
I can tell a lot about my practice from my second and third Surya Namaskar A. If my jump forward is light, I am off to a good start. And then in my Surya Namaskar B’s, I know that things are going well if my Virabadrasana I’s are long-legged and steady. I look forward to Padangusthasana and Padahastasana and am trying not to overdramatize Trikonasana and Parvritta Parsvakonasana. I finished the Standing Series in less than a half hour today, and that also tells me something about my focus – that it is there, that I am on, that I am not leaking energy, leaking prana.
I still need help binding the left side of Marichi B, but A is 95% under control now – it is just a question of binding lower and lower on my shin. Marichi C is really starting to happen for me too. I can ALMOSt do it myself. I really really want to. Mark said that my Marichi D was the best he has ever seen it today. I wasn’t so sure about that, but at least I was more aware of WHAT was making it difficult for me to hold the bind without slipping my arm off my top leg – uddiyana bandha needs some work.
And then….it was time for Bujapidasana. And I nailed it twice, including the transition. I thought perhaps Mark would give me Kurmasana, but he said not yet, although he acknowledged that I was on a roll. That was cool. I had energy to spare, and my finishing sequence was really tight and integrated. My uttpluthi is almost unshakeable. And this is quite a surprise given that two weeks ago, I could barely stay up for two seconds with my palms flat (I was cheating, using my fingers, holding my hands out to the sides…all the tricks). Now, my palms are flat, I am squeezing my padmasana tighter with each breath…and it feels really great.
But back to this whole thing of getting poses and progressing. Some observations I made today helped me to formulate some thoughts about it all. First the observations:
– The large-bodied black woman who binds super-easily in Marichi C isn’t even close to binding in Marichi D. I had even asked Mark – why can she bind so easily when she is carrying more weight than me? Now I see that we all have our challenges and our so-called “blessings” (is it really a “blessing” to be able to “do” a pose without having had to practice it a lot thought? hmmmmm…)
– The incredibly long legged, skinny woman in front of me, who plowed through every bound pose with the same ease with which I plow through anything involving a simple hamstring stretch, snuck a really, really fast and weak Bujapidasana in before moving onto Kurmasana and the delicious bound version, Supta Kurmasana, which, of course, she nailed. Mark came over to her and asked her to repeat her Bujapidasana for him, which is when I saw that her current level in Buja is nowhere near her level in any of the bound poses. For me, Buja is pretty easy-breezy. Makes sense, of course – Buja would favor a short-limbed, strongly muscled person more than it would a long and lanky “binder”. So, she is basically in Buja where I am in the Marichis. She can do it with help, but it is not really “stopping” her from moving on.
– The really handsome, tall guy who practices at the same time as me every day had a really challenging day today. He kept stopping and resting and sitting and breathing heavily. We all have bad days.
All of these observations made me realize that it is best for me not to move on so so quickly, because each pose has SO MUCH to it. If I am busy trying to learn Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana, what is going to happen to my progress in Marichi D? So, despite that my Navasana is totally good, and my Buja is really nice, I can see why my teachers wouldn’t want me to move on so quickly to the next pose (Kurma), which really leads right into the NEXT next pose (Supta Kurma), which is counterposed by the next next next pose (Garba Pinda). I mean, these three all go together, so it really is not a simple matter of getting one. They all run together, and it is a LOT to absorb.
I will miss Mark a lot when he leaves. I will have to get used to an entirely new teacher. This scares me a bit. But it will be a good challenge.