Anatomy of Marichyasana A

Marichyasana is an asana named after the sage Marichi. In Sanskrit, it also means ray of light that emanates from the sun and the moon.  

What is Marichyasana A? - Definition from Yogapedia

Joint and Muscle Movements (referencing picture above): 

Lower body

  • Hips: flexion, anterior pelvic tilt, slight internal rotation and adduction at hip joint
    • Hip flexion is assisted by iliacus and psoas major muscle. 
    • Hip internal rotation is assisted by gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and tensor fasciae latae. 
    • Hip adduction is assisted by pectineus, adductor longus, adductor magnus, adductor brevis, gracilis and quadratus femoris. 
  • Left Patella: slight elevation 
  • Right knee: flexion
    • Knee flexion is assisted by sartorius, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris and gracilis.

Upper body

  • Shoulder: internal rotation
    • Internal shoulder rotation involves subscapularis and teres major as prime movers. 
  • Right shoulder: protraction
    • Protraction of shoulder involves serratus anterior, levator scapulae, and pectoralis minor.
  • Scapula: depression
    • Depression of scapula involves pectoralis major and minor, and trapezius. 
  • Elbow: extension
    • Elbow extension involves triceps branchii. 

Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are several other muscles that must be engaged when performing this asana. One must bring awareness to these muscles to go deeper into the pose. 

  • The quadriceps on the left leg must be activated to extend the knee and bring the chest closer to the ground. 
  • Engage your core (contracting the abdominal muscles – rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis) can help to fold deeper as well.

The back muscles (erector spinae, spinal rotators, and quadratus lumborum) will all be stretched in this position.