On inhale raise your hand towards the sky and lengthen, on exhale place your elbow behind the bent knee twisting from the rib cage. On inhale lean forward, placing the armpit in front of the knee and wrapping the arm around the bent leg. See if you can interlock your fingers behind. Gaze towards your nose, over the shoulder. Breathe, I said as I was guiding a student into Marichyasana C.
“It’s hard” I heard back from a student. These words made me smile. A lot. These words reminded me of myself once upon a time.
When Ashtanga yoga teacher ignoring the disbelief in my eyes, put me in Marichyasana D and holding my hands behind was telling me to breathe, while guiding me with her own breathe slow, loud and steady.
My lotus foot was pressing sharply into my belly and I was gasping for the oxygen, but eventually, I was able to unite with that rhythm of breath and find a sense of calm. Even if just for a moment.
A few days later, I remember, when I was clasping my hand behind the back by myself and feeling proud of it, I heard a voice from another corner of the room “Oksana, breathe! It’s about breathing!”
Eventually, many months forward, my breathing became deeper, spine became taller and mind calmer. Today I manage to find a sense of quiet and peace and surrender to the discomfort in this deep twist. And maybe, one day the discomfort will disappear completely or maybe it won’t. And it actually doesn’t really matter. What matters is how we see this discomfort and how we let it to transform us. On the mat and in day to day life.
Are you able to create a space for yourself to be? In every day life? Are you able to accept the situation without judgment and aversion? Are you able to surrender to what is and as it is? Go ahead and take five long, slow, steady breathe, as a reminder to yourself that it’s not so much about what’s happening around you, it’s how you react on it.
Life is never good or bad. It simply is. It flows in its natural circle. And our true power comes not from how strongly we can resist and fight back, but how well we can align ourselves with life’s ups and downs.
Remember, – lengthen your spine on every inhale, lift your head up, and surrender on every exhale. But don’t try to rush. Or you will end up injured. Trust the process of becoming. Let your breathe be your guide and watch the life unfolding for you.
Same way, as once upon a time, Marychasana D did.
Oksana Lazda, Ashtanga yoga student, movement lover and yoga teacher, Qeenstown, New Zealand