MARICHYASANA C – SAGE POSE
Marichyasana C is a twist that involves the upper body turning out and the lower body turning in. This means that muscles with a rotatory component can be put to further use in order to deepen and refine the pose. For example, contracting the deep muscles that turn the thigh bone out on the bent-leg side can refine the twist. These include the external rotators of the hip and the gluteus maximus.
Sit in Dandasana, bend your right knee putting the foot on the floor, with the heel as close to the right sitting as possible.
Keep the left leg strong, foot rotated slightly inward, toes pulled back.
When you Inhale raise the left arm up, keep lengthening through the spine, as if there is a string pulling you up from the top of your head.
There are three options, chose which one is right for you.
1) While you exhale, place your right hand on the floor in line with the tailbone, (the closer you bring your hand the straghter your spine will be).
Bring the left hand to the right knee and pull it accross your body working on twisting your shoulders and torso, while keeping the spine long.
Look over your right shoulder and open the chest as you twist.
2) While you exhale, place your right hand on the floor just behind your tail bone (bring the hand a little further away if this is not possible).
Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right knee keeping the hand in the air.
Use your elbow to pull yourself deeper into the twist.
Remember to keep the spine long and the shoulders open.
Gazing on your right shoulder
3) With an exhalation, rotate your torso to the right and wrap your left around the right thigh, with the armpit as close to the knee as possible, and bring the right arm around the back.
Try to bind holding the fingers hands or wrists.
Release the right hip towards the floor.
Try to keep your shoulders level. (If you can almost reach in this posture you may use a belt to bind the hands)
Gazing on your right shoulder.
Try to breathe as deeply as possible, holding the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute ideally .
Exhale, reverse the legs and twist to the left for an equal length of time.
Spinal twisting engages the sweat glands, helping to detoxify the body
Aids digestion (the twisting action promotes elimination and stimulates the abdominal organs)
Opens up and relieves tension from the shoulders (good for office workers or people with sedentary jobs)
Can be good for diabetics, as it stimulates the pancreas
Strengthens and stretches the spine
Stretches the intercostal’s (muscles between the ribs) helping you to breathe deeply
Can relieve menstrual discomforts
WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND EMPHASIZE
Ground down through the sitting bones and extend out through the strongly engaged left leg. With each inhale, back slightly out of the twist to more easily elongate the spine, twisting further with each exhale.
Keep the shoulder blades drawing down the back, heart center spacious, and breath steady. Gaze to the left.
Advanced students can transition out through EKA PADA BAKASANA to Chaturanga.
Photo by MACHADO CICALA MORASSUT
Sources: Teaching yoga, by Mariel Hemingway and The key poses of yoga by Ray Long.