Pose Dedicated To The Sage Marichi D, Marichyasana D, (muh-ree-ch-yaa-suh-nuh D)
marichi (sage / rsi mareechi / ray of light) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Marichi’s pose D
Explore your boundaries in this seated pose, which combines half-lotus, twisting and a bind.
Marichyasana D Fundamentals
Marichyasana D is a seated pose and a part of the seated sequence of the Ashtanga Primary Series.
It is the last of the four variations of Marichyasana (A,B,C,D) – in which the first two are forward folds and the last two are twists.
It is an advanced asana and the most difficult of all the Marichyasana variations as it combines twisting, binding, and half lotus. Therefore, it would be a good idea to first work on mastering the other variations before you attempt Marichyasana D.
Still, there are modifications you can take to make this pose less challenging, which we will share later in the article. With that in mind, it is still a good idea to practice under the supervision of a teacher, as they could help you safely move into the pose.
In Ashtanga yoga, the poses grow in complexity as the class goes further, which warms up the body and allows the student to develop the necessary flexibility for the more advanced poses.
If you want to try Marichyasana D but are not an Ashtanga yoga practitioner, still place it somewhere later in the practice. You can use it as a peak pose, after performing a series of warm ups.
As a twist, Marichyasana D stimulates the flow of prana in the body, and aids in cleansing and detoxification.
Its complexity can teach the student how to be patient and consistent in their practice, and also how surrendering rather than forcing can take them further in their yoga practice.
Marichyasana D Theory
This pose is not found in old yoga texts, and we can find its first written record in the 1934 text Yoga Makaranda by Krishnamacharya. He was the teacher of Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga yoga, who then included it in his sequence.
Like all poses in this series, Marichyasana D was named after Marichi, a sage whose name translates to “ray of light”, as he represents one of the virtues of the sun.
He is the son of Brahma, and his role was to translate Brahma’s universal laws into Sanskrit, and to help awaken humans from their delusions.
Marichyasana D Benefits
- Stretches the arms, shoulders, spine, hips, and quadriceps.
- It contracts the abdomen and helps to increase core strength.
- When the arms are in a bind, this encourages the opening of the chest, which may help you deepen your breath.
- The complexity of the pose forces you to become more focused and aware of your body, as it may only be achieved with full attention. This skill will prove helpful in all other yoga asanas.
- The twisting of the spine helps to cleanse body of toxins and is relaxing. It can also release tension in the spine, helping to decrease back pain and improve posture.
- Boosts blood circulation in the pelvic floor, which improves the function of the reproductive system. The twist contracts the abdomen, which boosts digestion.
- We tend to hold negative emotions in our hips and spine, and by releasing tension in these areas we can also release these emotions, coming to a much lighter and more positive mood.
How To Do Marichyasana D: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
- Begin seated with your legs extended in front of you, in Staff Pose.
- Now fold your right leg into half lotus, so your foot is tucked into the left groin and the knee falls open on the floor.
- Now bend your left knee into a squat position, bringing the foot as close as you can to your buttocks. The knee is facing the sky.
- Twist to the left, keeping the right hip and knee grounded on the floor.
- As you enter the twist, place your right arm on top of the left knee, towards the armpit side of the arm. In order to achieve that, you will need to keep the right foot close to your belly.
- Now bring the left arm behind your back, and try to clasp the hands together.
- Hold the pose for 5 deep and steady breaths. Then release back to Staff Pose, and perform the same steps on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- Shift your weight forward to ground the lotus leg into the floor and to feel stronger in the leg which is in a squat.
- Allow the sit bones to move naturally – forcing the hip of the leg that’s in a squat to remain on the ground will prevent you from twisting and may lead to injury. Therefore, allow your hip to come off the ground and manage the weight in the foot instead.
- This pose is intense and difficult, and we highly recommend you learn it under the guidance of a teacher. The teacher can also adjust you in the pose and help you to sit upright.
- Maintaining a calm and steady breath will help you tremendously in reaching and holding the pose.
- Always perform a warm-up before this asana, and if it’s too difficult, perform other variations of Marichyasana or use one of the modifications below.
Marichyasana D Variations:
Omit The Half Lotus
The full version of Marichyasana D requires one leg to be in Half Lotus, which can be inaccessible and uncomfortable for some students.
Instead of forcing the Lotus position, simply place the foot beneath the squatting thigh, and behind the opposite foot. In this manner, you can still practice the bind and the twist, without forcing yourself to go further than comfortable.
Some students can enter the pose, but struggle to bind their arms behind the back. Instead, simply work on getting the armpit as close as you can to the squatting knee, as that will still help you to twist deeper.
Otherwise, you can also lengthen your reach by using a strap or a folded towel. Grab it at a distance that doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort.
With A Block
Many students round their spine or aren’t able to push their weight forward in Marichyasana D.
In this case, simply place a folded towel, blanket, or block beneath the hip of the Half-lotus leg. This will help you combat both of those issues.
Furthermore, if you have sensitive knees or feel a pinching sensation when the knee is closed into a squat, you can place a rolled towel or other fabric behind the knee.
Pressing the cloth with the knee with separate the bones, which will usually alleviate pain.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Rounding forward. Many students will round their back in this pose. If that’s the case, don’t force the twist, keep working on getting your spine straight instead.
Shallow breath. This pose is difficult and includes a deep twist, which may lead to the person not being able to breathe fully. If that’s the case for you, go only as deep as you can while still maintaining a deep and consistent breath.
Injuries and Contraindications
Due to the deep twist, pregnant women should refrain from practicing the pose.
It is also not recommended for those with injured joints, low and high blood pressure, and diarrhea.
Those with hernia, hyperthyroidism, stomach, and peptic ulcers, should first consult with their physician and practice under the supervision of a teacher.
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