āsana lab: aṣṭāṇga’s marīcāsana B (pose dedicated to the sage marichi )

Aṣṭāṇga is a system of yoga that uses a set series of postures (there are six but that is for another day) in order to open the body slowly and in a safe way. Students can move on through the sequence only when the body and mind are ready.

Most led Aṣṭāṇga classes at triyoga cover half of the primary series. This series is known as yoga chikitsa, or yoga therapy. There are many forward bends incorporated into the sequence in order to open the hamstrings and hips, create a solid foundation and quieten the mind.

The set of four marīcāsana postures are named after the Indian sage Marīci, the son of Brahmā, the divine creator. Marīcāsanas A and B are forward bends whereas C and D are twists, the postures become more challenging sequentially.

This family of postures is particularly significant as it confronts students with many challenges including spinal flexion, deep hip opening, binding the hands and twisting. A posture is complete when the student can sit comfortably with the right alignment in the pose and the breathing is steady. Aṣṭāṇga yoga asks us to confront our limitations and work through them, this is a good mindset for everyday life.

Marīcāsana B has 22 vinyasas from downward facing dog, jump to sit with the legs out stretched in front, place the left leg into half lotus*. The right leg bends so the foot can come to the floor on the outside of the right hip. The right arm reaches and wraps around the right shin catching the left hand behind the back. Fold forward and breathe five times, dṛṣṭi (gaze point) is nāsāgre, (tip of the nose). Inhale, bring the head up, exhale there, release the posture and jump back and jump through. Repeat the same on the left side bringing the right leg into half lotus* and binding around the left shin.

*Practitioners that cannot place the leg in half lotus comfortably should focus on opening the hip and ankle joint rather than modifying the leg in order to bind. Progression comes through practise, patience and commitment.

Bryony and Netta both teach on Sundays in Camden.
Ashtanga Open level, 10.45am with Bryony 
Led Full Primary, 12.15pm with Netta

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