This question arose from a conversation I had with Ellie after practice at the Yoga House on Sunday morning. Ellie said that the latest directive from Mysore is that in Marichyasanas C and D, and in Pasasana as well, the hand that belongs to the arm that does the wrapping around the legs is the hand that gets grabbed (by the other hand, which belongs to the non-wrapping arm).
Oh boy, is this convoluted, or what?! No wonder my students always seem so tired in class: Small wonder, if they have to put up with a professor who talks like this :-) Well, let me try this again. So suppose you are doing Mari D on the first side (left leg is in half-lotus). This would mean that the left hand (the wrapping hand) would be grabbed by the right hand in the bind. Is this right, Ellie? Correct me if I'm wrong.
When I heard this on Sunday, I thought this sounded right. And I thought that this is what I usually do in practice anyway. But my mind, it turns out, has a way of playing tricks with me. During this morning's practice, I paid attention to my grabbing during the Marichyasanas. And then I realized that I have been doing the exact opposite this whole time: My wrapping hand has in fact been grabbing the non-wrapping hand all this while!
So what's the big deal, you may ask? You may be thinking: If the latest directive from Mysore is to use the non-wrapping hand to grab the wrapping hand, why don't you just make the switch accordingly? What difference would it make, whatever hand grabs whatever hand?
Well, here's the deal: At Kino's Richmond workshop in April, she told me that in Mari C, I should use my free hand to hold the thigh of the extended leg; similarly, in Mari D, I should use the free hand to hold either the calf or shin of the leg that is in half-lotus. The idea is that doing this will (1) help me get deeper into the twist, and (2) improve my overall form in the posture.
And here's the problem: It is actually easier to hold the thigh/shin/calf in Mari C/D if the hand that is doing the grabbing is the wrapping hand. Try it: You'll see what I mean. (Sorry, I don't have any videos of me getting into the Marichyasanas to use to illustrate this, so you'll have to visualize everything in your head). In fact, I don't even think it is anatomically possible to hold the thigh/shin/calf if the wrapping hand is being grabbed.
Any feedback/suggestions you can offer on this will be greatly appreciated.