Marichyasana is the set of poses that use binding, twisting, and bending to access areas of the body that not many postures manage. Marichiasana C is the most accessible of the twisted poses in the series and creates mobility, skill, and breath control for many other deep twisting poses. The key here is the breath, and this is where most of the focus should be in this pose.
Learning to control the breath is one of the fastest ways to manage the mind. The deep twisting poses increase the strength of the lungs and teach the body how to take deep relaxing breaths even when space is limited. This is useful for anyone who has anxiety or panic attacks and can even help with asthma. By practicing deep breathing in twisting poses, you build the strength and muscle memory to be able to take deep controlled breaths in other situations too.
Marichyasana C is also useful for people with digestive issues and constipation as it can help to massage the organs, bringing blood and movement to the abdomen and pelvis. Imagine squeezing water out of cloth, by twisting, movement and pressure are brought to the areas that may otherwise become stagnant. Some people may find that this causes them to burp or fart, this is nothing to be embarrassed about just a release of trapped air, but it is probably best to do this pose with an empty stomach.
As well as the benefits to the center of the body from twisting, it can also help release tightness in the upper back and shoulders. You use the weight of the hips and the strength of the bent leg to help you to twist further.
This is the final version of the pose, with the arms bound around the outside of the bent leg. It requires quite a lot of flexibility in the spine and shoulders to bind so you may need to start with one of the modifications below.
Marichyasana C final version
- Sit in Dandasana, bend your right knee bring the heel close to the right sitting bone, leaving a gap between your foot and left thigh. Keep the left leg strong, toes pulled back.
- Inhale, bring the right hand to the floor behind the tailbone, and lengthen the spine. Choose the next option
- Modification 1
Bring the left hand to the right knee, while pressing into the right straighten the spine, and pull on the left hand to twist your shoulders and torso. Look over your right shoulder, and use deep strong breathing to open the chest. Start to close the gap between your left shoulder and left knee.
Marichyasana C Variation 1
- Modification 2
Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right knee keeping the hand in the air. Use your elbow to push yourself deeper into the twist. Remember to keep the spine long and the shoulders open. Gazing over your right shoulder. Breathe deeply focusing on long inhalation.
Marichyasana C Variation 2
- Final Variation
Bring the back of your left armpit to the outside of the right knee, rotate your shoulder to bend the elbow around the leg, then bring your right arm around your back, and hold your right wrist with your left hand.
Use the knee and the pulling action of the left hand to twist deeper, keeping the spine straight and the shoulders open, look over your right shoulder. Breathe deeply. (You may need to use a belt initially to act as an arm extension)
- Inhale untwist the body and look to the front
- Exhale release the hands, straighten out the leg, and repeat on the other side for an equal length of time.
- 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 massages and stimulates the pancreas
- Strengthens and stretches the spine
- Stretches the intercostal (muscles between the ribs) helping you to breathe more deeply
- Can relieve menstrual discomforts, depending on the individual
- Diarrhea and upset stomach,
This posture could be nauseous or bring too much pressure to the intestines, this is one reason why it is suggested to do yoga on an empty stomach and after clearing your bowels.
- Some types of back or spine injury
Always be careful if you are injured and only go as far as you feel comfortable if you get any sharp pain then come out of the posture and do not push through.
- Current Migraine/Headache
If you suffer chronic headaches Marichyasana C can be useful, but it is best avoided during a headache as it can build more pressure.
If you enjoyed finding out about Marichiasana C check out some of the other postures in our asana directory