Friday, February 10, 2012

Pose of the Month-Marichyasana I

The pose that has been on my mind recently is the pose, Marichyasana. It quite the interesting pose. It appears from just looking that it is a forward bend..well once you explore this pose more carefully, you find it is truly a hip opening pose too. Oddly, we can cheat our way out of the hip opener if we just lay our weight into the straight leg and let go of the downward pull of the bent leg. This pose takes careful attention. You cannot just contort your way in without missing the benefit. If you click on the link to the title of this pose you can see YJ's explanation of how to get into this pose. Gregor Maehle, Ashtanga geru describes the pose as follows...
"The action of the forward bending is performed solely by the hip flexors and is supported by the feet, legs and trunk. With our hands bound, the tempation to use our arms for assistance to fold forward is removed. Marichyasana I offers the therapeutic benefit of strengthening these muscles. The handicap becomes the gift."
I recommend sitting on a blanket or block if your hip flexors and or hamstrings limit you in this pose. You can also use a strap to help you bind.

This pose is great for digestion as it compresses the abdomen.

When I am drawn to a pose I always want to understand why.It is funny because I looked at my various volumes of yoga books for the story of Marichi and could not find anything. He is the son of Brahma and was called the "Ray of Light". He is the grandfather to the God Surya with which our Sun Salutations are named. No story about life no lesson learned and no reason that this pose should bear his name. I even asked my teacher about him and she did not have much either. So, I thought what does this pose teach me? I think it teaches me to slow down and take the time to set up so that I do not miss the "gift of the pose"..the hip softening. If you rush through the set up just to get to the forward fold that is what you get. If you thoughtfully align your bodyweight over both legs and open your heart and lift your heart center then you are able to find the length in the spine and the stretch into the hip. It is work to get here but the reward is a different feel. Sometimes is life we rush to Point B all along missing the journey to perhaps Point C which is a much more fun destination than Point B. The unexpected can only be found if we slow down and awaken our hearts to see the unfamiliar or the road less traveled.

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