Macaroni and cheese pose

The chitta is like a vehicle propelled by two powerful forces, prana and vasana (desires). It moves in the direction of the more powerful force.

Light on Pranayama

A couple of days ago I wrote about getting back to practice, and mentioned that, as usual, marichyasana B was my favorite pose. Confused left a really interesting comment:

could you say a little more about why you love marichyB? i sure don’t! so i’m curious. for me C is relatively good, A is ok, D is not good but not as confusing as B. what is your secret?? so far my teacher’s adjustments have not enlightened me- they make it look better though. i know i could use more space in the hips, but i’m guessing it’s also my short torso and tight back creating the weirdness. are you someone with more of a long, loose torso? just trying to figure this out a little. i think i did a doubletake when you said you like marichyB.

I spent a little time thinking about it, and I realize that marichyasana B is my favorite comfort pose. It’s like the macaroni and cheese pose of primary. I remember once saying that I loved marichyasana B best, and Crim Girl said it was a favorite of hers, too. So, quite honestly, I just assumed it was a pose that everyone loved. I think I did a doubletake when Confused said he or she doesn’t love marichy B.

I have no idea why I love marichy B the way I do. I looked back in my archives, but as far as I can tell, it is one of the poses that came easy for me — you know, one of the ones you can do as soon as someone shows you. I remember the lotus leg used to offer some resistance, but other than that, the pose was accessible from the get-go. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of other poses that were not accessible right off. So perhaps that’s one reason why I love marichy B.

I don’t have a long, loose torso, as Confused proposed. Hence my continuing attentions to baddha konasana. And my quixotic struggles with pindasana, which I don’t even bother to document, because I have enough problems as it is. On the other hand, I think I tend to understand the origami subtleties of poses rather quickly; I can usually coordinate all the necessary folding in the necessary order pretty easily — though not always to any kind of charming aesthetic effect.

But there’s something more to it. I’ve just always felt safe in marichy B. It feels good to fold up and put my head down and feel the sole of my foot up against my ribs. It’s like a hug. The only place where I feel such sweetness is in the little child’s pose moment after sirsasana.

I guess I’ve always figured I’ve had other lifetimes of asana practice, and that somewhere along the line marichy B and sirsasana (and its subsequent child’s pose) have been my most deep poses over the most lifetimes.

Or maybe that’s crazy talk.

I don’t know that I would call marichyasana B my favorite pose, since there are different criteria for different kinds of favoriteness. It’s definitely my comfort pose. I think at this point, supta kurmasana and baddha konasana are my favorite challenge poses — they’ve required the most change in my body (and mind). I love janusirsasana A, because it feels good and it feels bad in equal parts: it’s the pose that’s most like wiggling a loose tooth. And vasisthasana (which I have not practiced since I started Ashtanga…) is another pose I just adore for no discernable reason.

Tell me more about why you don’t like marichy B, Confused. Is there a pose you have just always loved?

It’s an interesting topic. I suspect most people have favorite poses that they kind of assume are everyone’s favorite. Funny to find out that isn’t necessarily so.


6 Responses

  1. You know, I didn’t like Mari B or A for a long time. C and D were easeir. They are all essentially hip openers, but C and D involve more of a spinal twist (which is relatively easier for me). A and B definitely get easier after the hips open more. For example, I can get my left leg behind my head now, so doing B on the second side is easier…in other words, I can get my head down to the floor and my foot is closer to my sitting bone.

  2. Oh yeah, one more thing…to the commenter – just give it time!

  3. Folding in Mari B sometimes hurts my ankle. If I make only a nominal effort to bend forward, then it’s not that uncomfortable, but my teacher doesn’t seem to find that a correct approximation of the pose. They have me move my bent leg farther out to the side, as if I should be able to go forward if I just move my foot out of the way. If only! That feels like the least of my problems. My torso feels twisted/scrunched- I think I really need to get better at keeping the sit bones down, also for supta kurmasana and badda konasana. When the assister pushes on my back it gets much straighter and that really helps, that part of the assist I like. Yep I know the teacher’s job is to interfere a little with my comfort zone so I can learn…

    My favorite pose is probably pincha mayurasana. Not that I practice second. For a long time, at random moments I would wish I could stretch up into a forearm balance but I didn’t try or think I could. Then one day I somehow accidentally did it while rolling on my balance ball. Now I guess since winter (cold, dark!) I practice it regularly, usually only outside of my yoga practice although the other day I noticed in Gregor Maehle’s book that you can do it from sirsanana so now I try that. The only thing I don’t like about the pose is that I feel like I kinda have nothing to ‘do’ up there, because right now my back isn’t flexibile enough to practice scorpion which is what I would really like to do, so I just practice going up and down a few times. More or less the same with handstands I guess, except they’re harder.

    Is it macaroni & cheese? Maybe more like caffeine, but better. I like inversions and balances in general because they pretty much always make me feel more energized and in a better mood. I do have some gynmastics background, although I was never good/serious, so I don’t feel like it ‘counts’ that much. Actually one thing I could do was stay up in a handstand walking around (winning our silly ‘playday’ contests), but I had no idea how to balance on my hands/arms without moving. So those kinds of poses feel like the ‘missing link’ to me, whatever that means. Like I become more myself. It’s a sweet mix of challenge and familiarity. I’ve never speficially seen myself as doing yoga asanas in past lives. However I could easily imagine myself in some kind of performance role, like a temple dancer or slight acrobat. Crazy thoughts perhaps. Moon and ascendent in Leo, though I don’t generally come across that way.

    I think of the marichyasanas and kurmasana as the most ‘healing’ poses for me, the most difficult but very beneficial healthwise. But they have always seemed strange to me. I still remember my first class with mari A, we were in a different room than usual. Any kind of bind or lotus seemed far out to me. When I saw David Swenson’s video years ago, I assumed mari D and his handstand navasanas were all strictly for those few with innate superhuman yoga abilities. Then about a year ago I started to become aware of the ashtanga community online, and found out that most people learn primary through *work*. Which is basically what encouraged me to develop a regular yoga practice. So thanks for the space to ramble on, & thanks also to Tiff for commenting.

  4. I know what you mean about inversions. I love them, too. Before I did Ashtanga, I had a teacher who always did tons of inversions in class. I remember asking him, “Why do inversions make me so HAPPY?”

    I’m not a great twister, so while I enjoy the crack in the back that I get in marichys C & D, it’s nothing like the pleasure I get out of B. I don’t know if it’ll help you at all, but my current teacher makes a point of how A & B are precursors of the leg-behind-the-head poses. That kind of reminds me to use the back of my arm to press the shin back, while pressing the leg close to the torso (but still leaving room to have your torso move in front of the shin). It’s like you’re trying to tuck your upper knee way behind your shoulder. If any of that makes sense 😉

    Funny how you mention primary being work. Lots of people seem to be under the impression that people who do yoga could just always do it — like a gift or talent that you are born with. I wish!

  5. Your comment about pressing the leg to the torso helps a lot, thanks- realized that I lean away from the bent leg to bind, but that is how I get twisted. Also looked at the Iyengar book- he sits up straight before he bends forward. That might help me break it down a little. He says the heel goes at the navel, which I wasn’t doing, I think that change fixed my ankle issue. And his version is to keep the bent leg touching the straight leg/perineum, and folds over the lotus knee rather than in between. Very different than what my teacher seems to indicate. Not sure if it’s just considered harder to touch your head town in betewen your knees rather than the Iyengar version, or if there’s something else about the mechanics and rationale for putting the bent foot out to the side that I’m missing.

  6. Well ok today I was reading hte Gregor Maele book. He says you need to keep the 45 (or 40? forgot already) degree angle between the thighs in MariB and then it’s an excellent hip opener. Otherwise it’s just another forward bend. Finally (after days of comments 😉 it’s starting to make sense! And actually stretch my hips/thighs, rather than just feel weird with little progress.

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