The Benefits of Marichyasana iii
A wonderful seated twist in yoga that gives all your internal organs a massage and wringing out by placing gentle pressure on them. Marichyasana 3 is considered a detoxifying pose as it’s particularly beneficial in massaging your liver and kidneys, which both act as filters for the body. Other benefits of Marichyasana 3 include aiding your digestive system by gently applying pressure to your digestive organs. Marichyasana 3 also benefits your spine providing it with more mobility and flexibility, it stretches your outer hip and it opens your chest.
Marichi’s twist, if entered into without awareness, can inadvertently aggravate the sacroiliac joint (the joint either side of the very bottom of your spine, where your sacrum meets your pelvis). This can cause discomfort in your lower back. One important thing to remember when practising Marichyasana 3 is that the movement should begin from the base up, with the twisting motion starting from your mid-back then finishing with your neck. This prevents unnecessary pulling of the SI joint and also decreases compression on the cervical spine. The neck should actually be loose and without tension in Marichi’s twist. If your neck doesn’t feel good rotating then don’t force it! The last thing we want is a neck injury. Carried out mindfully this pose should help you realign the spine and not the other way round.
Marichyasana 3 steps and alignment
- Start in Dandasana (Staff pose) with both legs extended out in front of you and your feet flexed, toes pointing up to the ceiling.
- Ground down through your sit bones and at the same time extend up through your spine.
- Bend your right knee and draw your foot in close towards your buttocks, keeping about a foot’s distance between your left thigh and right foot.
- Internally rotate your left thigh, making sure that your foot is still flexed.
- Inhale raise your left arm up, elongating further through the spine.
- Exhale begin to twist towards your right leg, starting from the bottom of the spine. It may help to shuffle your extended leg forward a view inches to initiate the movement from the midback, not the lumbar spine.
- Either hug your knee with your extended arm or hook your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Bring your right hand behind you on the floor. Ask your yoga teacher if you’d like to start working towards an arm bind in this pose.
- On your next inhale extend up through the spine, then exhale and twist a little bit more. Repeat this a few more times until you reach your sustainable edge. Use your breath as a tool to move with awareness as opposed to pulling deeper into the pose with brute force.
- If you can, bring your head to look over your right shoulder. If you’ve initiated the twist from the bottom up then this should come easily.
Extra things to consider for Marichi’s pose
- Both sit bones should be on the floor. If one buttock elevates then you may want to try experimenting with your foot and knee position. Moving your foot a bit further away from the thigh and pushing down through the foot onto the floor should help ground the elevated buttock. If you still can get both buttocks to ground then pop a cushion under your elevated buttock.
- If you have a tendency to slump in this pose then come up onto your fingertips on your backhand in order to push yourself a little more upright in the pose. This will help you to strengthen your lower back muscles to support you in this seated twist.
Learn all about the benefits of Downward Facing Dog and Trikonasana