One of the most significant and long-lasting benefits of regularly practicing yoga is that it can help maintain the health of the spine. Twisting poses in particular help to improve the mobility of the spine by encouraging flexibility and strength. Even if you don’t have a dedicated yoga practice, working twisting yoga postures into your stretching routine can help you preserve the health of your spine so that it is functioning at its full potential. Marichi’s Pose, or Marichyasana, is a twisting posture that is fairly gentle, but impactful enough to both stretch and strengthen the spine, while also providing benefits to the entire body. It is accessible for people of all flexibility levels, and easily modifiable.
Performing Marichi’s Pose
Start in a seated position, with your legs extended out in front of you. Relax your shoulders. Extend through your spine and lift through your ribcage so that your torso is upright. Bend your right leg and bring your knee into your chest, with your foot flat on the ground and your heel as close to your right glute as possible. Maintain length through your left leg with your toes flexed up, and rotate it slightly inward.
Place your right hand behind your right glute, with the palm fully on the floor for support. Extend through your spine, and on an exhale, begin to twist your torso over to the right. As you twist your torso, extend your left arm up, and then bend at the elbow and place it on the outside edge of the right knee. The left hand should be pointing up, with the fingers fully extended. If you are unable to reach your bent elbow to the outside of the opposite knee, you can simply grab hold of the knee with your hand.
Ensure that your weight is placed evenly on the outside and inside edges of the right foot, and that your knee remains upright, rather than tilting in or out. Your weight should also be evenly distributed between your two sitting bones. Avoid making your hips unleveled by shifting more weight onto one side. Keep your torso upright, and avoid leaning forwards or backwards.
As you remain in this posture, on your inhales, extend through your spine. On your exhales, continue to twist your torso to the right, but do so slowly and gently. Your inhales and exhales should be deep and long. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds to a minute, and then slowly release by bringing your left hand to the ground and extending your right leg out in front of you. Repeat on the opposite side.
Benefits of Marichi’s Pose
The twist performed in Marichi’s Pose provides a wealth of benefits to the body, including the following:
- Massages the abdominal organs, including the kidneys and liver.
- Improves digestion.
- Releases tension and mild pain in the back and hips.
- Stretches the shoulders and upper back.
- Both strengthens and stretches the spine, helping to increase flexibility.
- Opens up the breathing passages.
The gentle twist performed in Marichi’s Pose does wonders for the spine and the entire body. If you are looking to do your part to maintain the health of your spine, try working this stretch into your physical routine on a consistent basis to fully reap the benefits of this yoga pose.