Asana Technique and The Lesson Plan for Twisting Posture – The Marichyasana

Back bends are delicious

Forward bends are gracious

Twists are delightful.   They take us into the spine rotating, twisting, squeezing, strengthening, and releasing all the tissues that lies along the midline of the body.  The effects of twists can help to release locked-up tension that occurs from daily activities at home or work. The upper body stands more upright with greater ease and relief.  The feeling is Awesome!

Rotation of the spine

In order for a twist to occur. rotation of the spine must occur.  All twisting require the six muscles, whether the twist occurs while seated, standing, supine, or inverted.

On the front and side: 1) Internal obliques and  2) External obliques

On the back: 3) Rhomboids, 4) Middle trapezius and  5) Lower trapezius

Connecting the front and back: 6) Serratus anterior

The Principles Specific to Twisting:-

1)  Relaxing and Breathing before moving into any twist brings awareness to your base of support.  Once in the movement, breathing will help continue the movement.  The diaphragm is facially connected to the serratus anterior.  The serratus anterior is connected to external oblique.  If the diaphragm is easily moving, chances are better that the serratus anterior and the external oblique will also move greater ease.

2)  Initiate  Movement from Your Core: Move Your Neck Last

Moving into a twist, begin by moving at the abdomen, then sequentially up the torso, and then into the neck.  The mobility and strength can be sequentially developed, improving posture and body balance, all while preventing injury.

3)  After the Abdomen Moves, Lead with the Chest, then connect the Arm and Neck Movement with the Spine

4)  Stabilize the Connection between the Pelvis and the Spine

Get into The Pose:

i) Begin in a seated position with legs out as in Dandasana.  The arms to shoulders height.  Feel your breath and experience your spine.  If you feel yourself slouching, sit up on a block.  If you feel that you are  sitting tall with effortless effort, then you are ready.

Left knee up and your right leg straight.

ii) On the exhale, initiate from your abdomen and twist toward your bent knee.  This will engage your obliques.

iii) From the obliques, allow the chest to move, this will engage the rhomboids, middle trapezius, and serratus anterior.

iv) If you are sufficiently rotated, place your elbow on the outside of the knee without elevating your shoulder blade or rolling your shoulder forward.

v) Maintain the connection between the arm and the scapula as you gently press the arm against the knee/leg and the knee/leg against the arm. Keep the shoulder girdle and the muscles of the neck relaxed.

Lesson plan (60 min )

Sivananda Yoga

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation  (12x)

1) Sirshasana or Headstand (3 min)

2) Sarvangasana or Shoulderstand (3 min)

3) Halasana or Plough (3 min)

     Bridge

4) Matsyasana or Fish (1.5 min x 2)

5) Paschimothanasana of Forward Bend (3 min)

      Inclined Plane as counter pose

6) Bhujangasana or Cobra (1.5 min x 2)

7) Salabhasana or Locust (1.5 min x2)

8) Dhanurasana or Bow (1.5 min x 2)

9) Ardha Matsyendrasana or Spinal Twist (1.5 min each side)

10a) Kakasana or Crow (1.5 min x 2)

10b) Mayurasana or Peacock (1.5 min x 2)

11) Pada Hasthasana or Standing Forward Bend (3 min)

12) Trikonasana or Triangle (1.5 min each side)

Final Relaxation