I know it’s coming. This isn’t like turbulence on a plane that can come out of nowhere, despite the pilot’s pre-flight discussion of the air conditions and the weather. This isn’t like the way the weather shifts and buckles in the summer or in the winter, tolerable one day, painful the next. This is always there, the step on the stairs with the missing handrail, the walk down the street past the crazy person who may or may not hurl abuse and refuse. This is Marichasana D, and I am trying to approach it like a sleeping dragon of yore, not sure if it will wake into a sweet yawn, or breathe fire at me, randomly.
Yoga is a series of postures designed to do different things to the body and to the nervous system: there is control involved in the primary series of Ashtanga, for instance, and right now, I always know what is coming next. However, one has to develop the skill to live moment to moment and know the lines and the steps of this daily dance, yet recite them with different inflection and emotion from day to day. The practice is always the same, the body is not.
Marichasana D is not going anywhere.
I love the binds in this practice, the wrapping of arms about the self like I’m in a tight, close embrace, like someone is never going to let go; it dissipates some of the loneliness of being alive. But five breaths is not forever, nothing lasts forever, and I am suddenly open, wide and vulnerable and solo again in a heartbeat of time. The cleansing twists that come with these tight binds make me sweat and pinch and release my waist, my intestines, my abdomen. I feel better, then exhausted, then better again. And then there’s Marichasana D.
It’s backwards, it’s tight and open and bound. It’s the push and pull and release and the realization that very few activities really force a person to have this kind of bodily awareness: sex and yoga are the only two that come to mind. Marichasana D is a struggle, and an achievement, and deep relaxation that comes with the release and the surrender into the asana. It’s tough, and it’s easy, it’s soft and it’s hard and it’s a series of contradictions that are physically expressed.
Some days I love it, some days I hate it.
Most days I can do it, some days I cannot. It’s sly and sneaky asana and ever so slightly elusive, making no sense. It speaks a foreign language, and some days I can feel its scales. Other days, it purrs like the image of a contented kitten and slides gracefully into the tango of the Primary Series. Today was not that day. Saturday was a beam of sunshine after a long winter. Tomorrow, it may warp and shift again, because this Jabberwocky still has not yet been tamed.
But that’s ok. It has lessons to teach me, and I will succumb to them, as I move towards being kinder and more accepting of my Self. Because that’s what this whole slow waltz around the ballroom is really all about: fully trusting the union of body and mind that move into postural stillness to the heartbeat’s tune and the breath’s rhythm.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”