The Essence of Marichyasana C
Marichyasana C, often referred to as the “Marichi’s Pose C,” is a seated twist that honors the sage Marichi, one of the mind-born sons of Brahma in Hindu mythology. Marichyasana C  (mar-ee-chee-AHS-anna), also spelled Marīcyāsana C, is the third of four Marīcyāsana poses from the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series.

This is the eleventh seated posture in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series (yoga chikitsa) . All four Marichyasanapostures (A, B, C, D) build upon one another to prepare students for postures that follow.  I’ve also written a step-by-step guide for all four of the Marichyasana poses from Ashtanga’s Primary Series (Marichyasana AMarichyasana B, and Marichyasana D).

Krista Shirley Marichyasana C

click here to watch a full yoga tutorial on Marichyasana C

Benefits of Marichyasana C

Spinal Flexibility and Mobility: Marichyasana C involves a deep spinal twist, which helps improve the flexibility and mobility of the entire vertebral column. The twisting motion stimulates the intervertebral discs, maintaining their health and preventing stiffness.

Digestive Health: The compression and massage of the abdominal organs that occur during the twist can aid in digestion, alleviate bloating, and encourage the proper functioning of the digestive system. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with digestive issues.

Detoxification: Twisting poses like Marichyasana C stimulate the organs involved in detoxification, such as the liver and kidneys. The twisting action enhances blood flow to these organs, promoting the elimination of toxins and waste products from the body.

Improved Circulation: The twisting and bending of the torso in this pose stimulate blood circulation throughout the body. Enhanced circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the cells, helping to rejuvenate the body’s systems.

Hip and Shoulder Opening: Marichyasana C stretches the hips, thighs, and shoulders. Over time, this can lead to increased flexibility in these areas and relief from tightness or discomfort.

Enhanced Lung Capacity: The twist stimulates the chest and encourages expansion of the ribcage. This can lead to improved lung capacity, which is beneficial for overall respiratory health.

Mind-Body Connection: This pose requires focus and mindfulness as you work through the twisting motion and maintain your breath. Practicing Marichyasana C can enhance your mind-body connection, promoting a deeper sense of self-awareness.

Stress Reduction: The meditative quality of yoga combined with the twist’s physical benefits can help alleviate stress and anxiety. The controlled breathing and concentration required during the pose promote a calming effect on the nervous system.

Energy Flow: Twisting poses are known to stimulate the flow of energy (prana or chi) through the body’s energy channels (nadis or meridians). This can lead to increased vitality and a sense of overall well-being.

Internal Massage: As you twist, you create a gentle massaging effect on the internal organs, which can improve their functioning and overall health.

Balanced Chakras: In yogic philosophy, twists are believed to activate and balance the energy centers known as chakras. Marichyasana C, with its twisting action, may help balance the solar plexus chakra (Manipura), which is associated with confidence, digestion, and personal power.

Patience and Perseverance: This pose can be challenging, requiring patience and perseverance to achieve its full expression. Practicing it regularly can help you develop a growth mindset and a greater sense of determination.

Remember, the benefits of Marichyasana C are cumulative and may take time to fully experience. As with any yoga practice, it’s important to approach this pose with respect for your body’s current capabilities, and not to force yourself into the full expression of the pose if it causes discomfort or strain. Always listen to your body and practice under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor if you’re new to the pose or yoga in general.

Marichyasana C

Contraindications
While Marichyasana C offers numerous benefits, it’s important to recognize that not all yoga poses are suitable for everyone. Certain individuals may have pre-existing conditions or limitations that make practicing this pose unsafe or uncomfortable. Here are some contraindications and considerations to be aware of before attempting Marichyasana C:Spinal Issues: Individuals with severe spinal issues such as herniated discs, acute back pain, or spinal injuries should avoid or modify this pose. Twisting poses can exacerbate these conditions.

Pregnancy: Pregnant individuals, especially in the second and third trimesters, should avoid deep twisting poses like Marichyasana C. It’s essential to prioritize the safety of both the mother and the baby. The full expression of this posture is NOT recommended if you are pregnant.  Instead, try twisting away from the bent knee.  Hug your right knee with your right hand and begin rotating to the left (you will be facing away from your bent leg).  However, if this variation is uncomfortable during pregnancy, omit it altogether for now.

Prenatal Modification for Marichyasana C

 

High Blood Pressure: Deep twists can temporarily raise blood pressure. If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, it’s advisable to avoid or modify this pose to prevent any adverse effects.

Recent Abdominal Surgery: If you’ve undergone abdominal surgery (such as hernia repair) or have any abdominal conditions, consult your healthcare provider or a qualified yoga instructor before attempting deep twists.

Hip or Knee Injuries: Individuals with acute or chronic hip or knee injuries should approach this pose with caution. It’s crucial to avoid straining these areas.

Wrist Issues: If you have wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome or wrist pain, the arm positioning in Marichyasana C might aggravate the condition.

Limited Range of Motion: If you have limited flexibility in the hips, shoulders, or spine, forcing yourself into the full expression of this pose can lead to strain and potential injury.

Beginners: Marichyasana C is an intermediate to advanced pose. Beginners should focus on building a strong foundation in simpler poses before attempting this deeper twist.

Digestive Disorders: Individuals with severe digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease, should approach deep twists cautiously. Consult with a healthcare professional before attempting this pose.

Breathing Difficulties: If you have respiratory issues or find it challenging to breathe comfortably in the pose, it’s best to avoid or modify it.

Recent Injury: If you have a recent injury, especially in the hips, spine, or shoulders, it’s wise to avoid Marichyasana C until you’ve fully recovered.
Always prioritize your safety and well-being.

If you’re unsure whether Marichyasana C is appropriate for you, consult a qualified yoga instructor or a healthcare professional before attempting the pose. They can provide personalized guidance and modifications tailored to your individual needs and limitations. Remember that yoga should be a mindful and nourishing practice, and it’s okay to skip or modify poses that don’t align with your body’s current condition.

Tap here to watch a step-by-step tutorial video on Marichyasana C


Step-by-Step Instructions for the Full Expression of Marichyasana C with Sanskrit Vinyasa Count
We will be entering this posture from downward facing dog, having just taken a vinyasa after Marichyasana B to seated position.

Sapta (Vinyasa #7): From Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog), look forward and walk or jump your feet through and have a seat on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.  Bend your right leg up and bring your right foot as close to your right glute as you can.  Create a hands width of space between your inner left thigh and your right foot. Root down into your sits bones and lengthen your spine.  Take your left arm over and across your bent right leg. Press your upper left arm into your outer right knee. Bend your left elbow and wrap your left arm all the way around your bent right knee. Shift your body weight up and out of your right hand, into your hips.  Bring your right arm behind you to meet your left fingers or hand.  If you can, bind your fingers or wrist. Breathe here for five deep breaths. Your gaze is Parsva Drishti – look over your right shoulder.  Actively engage Mula Bandha (root/pelvic lock) with each inhale, and Uddiyana Bandha (naval lock) as you exhale.

TIPS

  1. Feel free to place your right hand or fingers to the floor behind you for balance and support while you work to bind in the pose.
  2. lengthen your spine as your ground your sits bones into the floor.
  3. With each exhale, try to rotate a little further to the right while actively engaging your straight left leg (flex your foot and press the whole leg forward in space).


Asthau (Vinyasa #8) After your fifth breath, exhale and release your arms, straighten both legs to release the posture.  Bring your hands to the floor, cross your legs and lift your body up off the ground.

Nava (Vinyasa #9)  Exhale and jump back into Chaturanga Dandasana.

Dasa (Vinyasa #10) Inhale into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana(Upward facing dog)

Ekadasa (Vinyasa #11) Exhale into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog)

Dvadasa (Vinyasa #12) From Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog), look forward and walk or jump your feet through and have a seat on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.  Bend your left leg up and bring your left foot as close to your left glute as you can.  Create a hands width of space between your inner right thigh and your left foot. Root down into your sits bones and lengthen your spine.  Take your right arm over and across your bent left leg. Press your upper left arm into your outer left knee. Bend your right elbow and wrap your right arm all the way around your bent left knee. Shift your body weight up and out of your left hand, into your hips.  Bring your left arm behind you to meet your left fingers or hand.  If you can, bind your fingers or wrist. Breathe here for five deep breaths. Your gaze is Parsva Drishti – look over your left shoulder.  Actively engage Mula Bandha (root/pelvic lock) with each inhale, and Uddiyana Bandha (naval lock) as you exhale.

Trayodasa (Vinyasa #13) After your fifth breath, exhale and release your arms, straighten both legs to release the posture.  Bring your hands to the floor, cross your legs and lift your body up off the ground.

Caturdasa (Vinyasa #14) Exhale and jump back into Chaturanga Dandasana.

Pancadasa (Vinyasa #15) Inhale into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana(Upward facing dog)

Sodasa (Vinyasa #16) Exhale into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog)

If you find the full expression of Marichyasana C to be a challenge, be sure to check out the modifications for this pose below.

Ashtanga Yoga’s Marichyasana C is a powerful pose that encapsulates the essence of yoga: the union of body, mind, and spirit. Its multifaceted benefits make it a valuable addition to any practitioner’s routine, but it’s important to approach it with patience and respect for your body’s limitations. As you deepen your practice, you’ll find that Marichyasana C not only cultivates physical strength and flexibility but also offers a profound journey into self-awareness and stillness.

Tap above or click here to watch a full yoga tutorial on Marichyasana C

Marichyasana C Modifications

Marichyasana C Modification (1)

Variation One (1)
Start this pose from Dandasana (Staff Posture).  Inhale and bend your right leg up.  Bring your right foot as close to your glute as possible.  Make sure you leave about a hands width distance between your inner left thigh and your right foot. Lift out of your sits bones and wrap your left arm around your bent right knee.   Pull the knee to your chest.  Bring your right hand (or finger tips) to the floor behind your right hip to help you with spinal rotation and to balance.

Push down into your right hand.  Press into your right hip and foot to ground your body. Activate your left quadricep.  At the same time flex your left foot. Breathe here for five deep breaths.  As you inhale, work to lift your torso up and press your right hand further into the floor.  This activation will help you create tensegrity or opposition of force to create greater stability. As you exhale, continue pulling your knee into your chest and extend out of your chest.  Continue working to rotate and look over your right shoulder.  After five deep breaths, inhale and look forward. Exhale and release your arm and right leg.  Take your vinyasa.  Repeat on the left side.

Marichyasana C Modification (2)

Variation Two (2)
Start the posture from Dandasana (Staff Posture).  Bend your right leg up.  Take your right foot and bring your it as close to your glute as you can.  Your goal is to keep about a hands width distance between your inner left thigh and your right foot. Lift out of your sits bones and wrap your left arm OVER your bent right knee.  Press the knee towards your chest.  Take your right hand (or finger tips) to the floor behind you.  This will help you rotate your spine and keep you balance.  Root down through your right hand and ground down into your right foot and right hip.

Activate your left quadricep.  Flex your left foot. Breathe here for five deep breaths.  Maintain activation in your body during your five breaths.  As you inhale, lift your torso up and push your right hand into the floor.  As you exhale, pull your knee towards your chest.  Lift your chest up.  Rotate your body to the and look over your right shoulder.  At the end of your fifth breath, inhale and look forward. Exhale and release your arm and right leg.  Take your vinyasa.  Repeat on the left side.

Preparatory Postures:
Parivrtta Trikonasana – https://youtu.be/hfxUTiIz7vQ
Parivrtta Parsva Konasana – https://youtu.be/I6EnkExh_-o
Marichyasana  A – https://youtu.be/dhNxnf6Lk_s

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Practice with The Yoga Shala
If you want to join us for LIVE classes, The Yoga Shala offers virtual and in person classes every weekday morning.  Owner, Krista Shirley, also offers virtual or in person private sessions (Yoga, Meditation, Breath-work, Nutrition, Life Coaching and Mentorship).  Visit theyogashala.org for details.

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We hope you find this video series helpful to you in creating or maintaining your yoga practice!

About Krista
Krista Shirley is a level II authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher.  She is deeply passionate about sharing these teachings with all who wish to learn.

If you want to join Krista in person she teaches daily classes at The Yoga Shala in Winter Park, Florida. She also offers virtual sessions in Yoga, Meditation, Breath-work, Nutrition, Life Coaching and Mentorship.  Check out www.theyogashala.org for more details.

If you do not live in Central Florida and want to find an authorized teacher in your area, check out our teacher, Sharath Jois’ website, for a list of all teachers authorized and certified by his yoga centre in India.

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