Marichyasana III

Marichyasana  (mar-ee-chee-AHS-anna) with the word ‘Marichi’ meaning a ray of light (from the Sun or the Moon).

Marichi is a shining figure in the lineage of the Hindu mythology. He is the son of Brahma; Grandfather of Surya, the sun god; and the Great Grandfather of Manu, the Vedic Father of humanity. He is one of the seven sages, who can intuitively ‘see’ & declare the divine law of the universe.

According to Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar, due to the deep abdominal seated twisting motion, practicing Marichyasana III regularly can bring forth the following benefits:

1) Strength neck muscles.

2) Reduces backaches, hip & shoulder problems.

3) Aids digestion & metabolism, due to the toning of the liver, spleen & intestines.

4) Emotionally & mentally purifying.

5) Aids in blood cleansing by releasing toxins.

6) From feeling sluggishness to being more awake & alive.


To prepare oneself into the pose,

1) Sit in Dandanasa (commonly known as the Staff Pose), with both legs extended to the front, hands by the side, torso upright & dorsi-flex both feet (Shaped like the capital letter ‘L’ looking from the side).

2) Bend the right knee & place the right foot on the ground.

3) Try to shift the right foot as close to the right sitting bone as possible.

4) Keep the left foot straighten & rotate it slightly inward & keep the dorsi-flex motion on the left foot.

5) Upon exhalation, rotate the torso to the right side & hook the left armpit over the right knee & onto the outer edge of the right thigh. My personal suggestion would be to try and stretch the left hand as far out as possible, aiming towards the left big toe (i.e. with the left foot firmly on the ground). I would also suggest to rely the opposing forces of the inner left elbow, being hooked onto to the outer right knee, to allow further or maximize the rotation of the torso towards the right side. This will definitely allow the yoga practitioner to have more leverage on the left hand & the rotated torso, for what is to be following next.

6) Because of the ‘Ball & Socket’ joint on the left shoulder, the yoga practitioner could then slowly performs an internal rotation of his/her left hand, with the left palm slightly facing up towards the ceiling.

7) With the ‘Hinge’ joint on the left elbow, the yoga practitioner could then bends the left elbow to a slight 90 degree angle; slowly retracts & shifts the left arm towards the outer left pelvis region, with the buttocks still sitting firmly on the ground.

8) Continue lengthening the spine with each inhalation, to allow further twisting of the torso to the right with each exhalation. Also try & hug the right thigh as close to the belly as possible.

9) With the ‘Ball & Socket’ joint on the right shoulder, the yoga practitioner will then performs an internal rotation of his/her right hand, with the right palm facing up towards the ceiling this time.

10) With the ‘Hinge’ joint on the right elbow, the yoga practitioner will then bends the right elbow to a slight 90 degree angle; slowly retracts & shift the right arm towards the back of the rotated torso.

11) The aim of the following sequence of the pose would be for the clasping of both hands together at the back of the rotated torso. If clasping of both hands at the back of the rotated torso is impossible for any beginner practising this pose, a towel or a strap can be used in this case.

12) Gently turns the head to the right side to complete the twisting pose.

13) Try and stay in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths and release the twisting pose with an exhalation.

Obviously with any yoga practice, stop at any point in time, when one starts to experience discomfort or shortness of breath. Always listen to your body & never tries to force into any poses, if the body is not ready.

Namaste & enjoy your yoga practice everyone. 🙂



Wayne Wong

(200hr TTC March-April 2014)

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