A wonderful woman in her sixties who practices in our shala said to an assistant the other day when asked ‘would you like help’, ‘no I would never like help or to bind in Marichyasana D again’. I smiled at her radical acceptance. It sounds so simple, the statement ‘if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it’, but often the dogmatic rules are as reinforced by students, due to the culture they learnt is, as the teachers. Radical acceptance is to be genuinely happy with where you are, it is santosa – contentment in action. Marichyasana D, we ought to remember, is completely inaccessible for many bodies – short arms, an abundance in the front body, tight shoulders, hips that (due to the bones) do not have an exceptional range of movement or those with historic or current knee injuries (not to mention those with arthritic joints or mobility issues).
However, many students also end up hurting themselves to satisfy the requirement to complete the bind before they move on. This dogmatic rule has lost Mysore rooms around the world many students. In spite of there being some excellent postures to improve their lotus further through the sequence – Baddha Konasana and Upavishta Konasana.
I like the idea that moving forward is not based on perfection of the posture, but on effort toward that end. Some students will never hold their heels in kapotasana but should be moved forward once they have found a way to take a safe form of the posture with breath and steady mind – surely!
Here is a brilliant article by Matt Ryan on the subject. Happy reading and compassionate practice: