Tap here to watch a step-by-step tutorial video of Marichyasana D

Benefits of Marichyasana D

Physical Benefits

Spinal Flexibility: Marichyasana D involves a deep spinal twist, which increases the flexibility of the entire spine, promoting better posture and overall spinal health.

Digestive Health: The twisting motion massages the abdominal organs, aiding digestion and promoting the efficient functioning of the digestive system.

Hip Mobility: The pose requires the hips to open and rotate, enhancing hip joint flexibility and relieving stiffness.

Hamstring and Lower Back Stretch: The forward fold in Marichyasana D stretches the hamstrings and lower back muscles, reducing tension and improving flexibility.

Oblique Strengthening: The engagement of the oblique muscles during the twist helps tone and strengthen the sides of the torso.

Shoulder Mobility: The twisting action and binding in the pose help improve shoulder flexibility and range of motion.

Energetic and Spiritual Benefits

Chakra Activation: Marichyasana D stimulates the Manipura chakra (solar plexus), which is associated with confidence, willpower, and self-esteem. It also connects with the Muladhara chakra (root), promoting a sense of stability and grounding.

Prana Flow: The pose opens up energy channels in the body, facilitating the smooth flow of prana (life force energy), leading to enhanced vitality and a balanced state of being.

Mind-Body Connection: The act of binding in the pose encourages a strong connection between the body and mind, fostering mindfulness and self-awareness.

Mental and Emotional Benefits

Stress Relief: Twisting poses like Marichyasana D are known to have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.

Focused Attention: The complexity of the pose requires concentration and focus, helping to quiet the mind and improve mental clarity.

Patience and Persistence: Achieving the full expression of Marichyasana D may take time and consistent practice, teaching valuable life skills of patience and persistence.

Inner Exploration: The deep twist and introspective nature of the pose provide an opportunity to explore emotions and thought patterns, fostering emotional release and self-discovery.

Overall Well-being

Balanced Body: By addressing multiple aspects of flexibility, strength, and alignment, Marichyasana D contributes to a balanced and harmonious body.

Enhanced Flexibility: Regular practice of the pose contributes to increased overall flexibility, making daily movements more comfortable and fluid.

Holistic Approach: Marichyasana D’s combination of physical, energetic, and mental benefits embodies the holistic nature of yoga, supporting overall well-being.

                                                                                                                        Marichyasana D

Contraindications

While Marichyasana D offers numerous benefits, it’s important to be aware of its contraindications and practice the pose safely. As with any yoga pose, not everyone’s body is the same, and certain conditions may make it advisable to avoid or modify Marichyasana D. Here are some contraindications to consider:

Spinal Issues: Individuals with severe spinal issues, such as herniated discs or serious spinal misalignments, should approach Marichyasana D with caution. Twisting poses can potentially exacerbate these conditions.

Recent Abdominal Surgery: If you’ve had recent abdominal surgery or any abdominal trauma, it’s recommended to avoid deep twists like Marichyasana D, as they can strain the healing tissues.

High Blood Pressure: Twisting poses can temporarily increase blood pressure. If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure or hypertension, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before attempting this pose.

Pregnancy: Deep twisting poses are generally contraindicated during pregnancy, especially as the pregnancy progresses. Twists can compress the abdominal area and interfere with the space needed for the growing fetus.  Therefore it is NOT recommended that pregnant women take the full expression of this yoga posture. Some expectant mothers will find they can still do the half-lotus with no trouble and other expectant mothers might find it painful.  If you do, simply put the foot of the half lotus leg on the ground under the bent knee. Either way you choose to do the half-lotus leg,  twist your body away from the bent knee.  You can draw your right knee towards your body with your right hand and begin rotating to the left (you will be facing away from your bent leg).  However, if you find this variation uncomfortable during pregnancy, omit it altogether until after you’ve given birth.

Glaucoma: Marichyasana D involves forward bending and potentially straining the eyes. If you have glaucoma or other eye conditions, consult your doctor before practicing this pose.

Knee Issues: If you have knee injuries, pain, or limitations, be cautious with the half lotus position used in Marichyasana D. You might need to modify or skip this pose to protect your knees.

Shoulder Injuries: Individuals with acute or chronic shoulder injuries should approach binding in Marichyasana D with care. Overexertion or improper alignment can strain the shoulders.

Wrist Issues: If you have wrist problems, the twisting and binding actions could exacerbate discomfort. Proper support and alignment are crucial to avoid strain on the wrists.

Recent Surgery: Avoid Marichyasana D if you’ve had recent surgery on the hips, spine, shoulders, or any area directly involved in the pose.

Inexperienced Practitioners: Those new to yoga or with limited flexibility might find the pose challenging. It’s important to work gradually and avoid pushing your body beyond its limits.

Always prioritize your safety and listen to your body. If you have any medical conditions or concerns, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional or experienced yoga instructor before attempting Marichyasana D or any other challenging yoga pose. In some cases, modifications can be made to adapt the pose to your individual needs and limitations. Be sure to check out our suggestions for modifying Marichyasana D below. Remember that yoga is about creating harmony within your body, so honor your body’s signals and make choices that align with your well-being.

Tap here to watch a step-by-step tutorial video on 3 modifications/variations and the full expression of Marichyasana D.

 

Step-by-Step Instructions for the Full Expression of Marichyasana  D with Sanskrit Vinyasa Count
We will be entering this posture from downward facing dog, having just taken a vinyasa after Marichyasana C 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 left leg and bring it on top of your right leg into a half-lotus position.  Bend your right leg up, working to get your right foot as close as possible to your right glute.  Root down into your sits bones and lengthen your spine. Lift your left arm and rotate your upper back to the right.  Take your left arm over and around your right leg.  Push your left arm into your outer right knee. Bend your left elbow. Wrap your left arm around your bent right knee.  Shift your weight from your right hand into your hips, and bring your right arm behind you to grab your left hand/fingers.  If possible, bind your fingers or wrist. Breathe here for five deep breaths.  Your gaze is to the side over your right shoulder (parsva drishti).  Throughout the five breaths, on each inhale, engage Mula Bandha (root/pelvic lock).  With each exhale, engage Uddiyana Bandha (naval lock).

TIPS:

  1. As you are working to get into the bind, 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. With each inhale in the posture, lengthen your spine as your ground your sits bones into the floor.
  3. With each exhale in the posture, 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 right leg and bring it on top of your left leg into a half-lotus position.  Bend your left leg up, working to get your left foot as close as possible to your left glute.  Root down into your sits bones and lengthen your spine. Lift your right arm and rotate your upper back to the left.  Take your right arm over and around your left leg.  Push your right arm into your outer left knee. Bend your right elbow. Wrap your right arm around your bent left knee.  Shift your weight from your left hand into your hips, and bring your left arm behind you to grab your right hand/fingers.  If possible, bind your fingers or wrist. Breathe here for five deep breaths.  Your gaze is to the side over your left shoulder (parsva drishti).  Throughout the five breaths, on each inhale, engage Mula Bandha (root/pelvic lock).  With each exhale, engage Uddiyana Bandha (naval lock).

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)

Marichyasana D is a testament to the depth and richness of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series. It embodies physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions, inviting us to delve into the layers of our being. Through this pose, we not only stretch our muscles but also expand our consciousness, aligning ourselves with the timeless wisdom of yoga. So, as you step onto your mat and into Marichyasana D, embrace the journey of transformation it offers—one twist at a time. If you find the full expression of Marichyasana D to be a challenge, be sure to check out the modifications for this pose below.

Tap above or click here to watch the YouTube tutorial for Marichyasana D

Marichyasana D Modifications

No matter what variation of the pose you choose, move slowly through the posture, acknowledge your limits, and respect your bodies limitations.

                                                                                                      Marichyasana D Modification 1

Variation One (1) 
Starting from Dandasana (Staff Posture), take your left leg into half-lotus.  Bend your right leg up and guide your right foot as close as possible to your glute. Lengthen out of your sits bones (it is ok if your right glute is off the floor). Take your right arm around your left bent knee and take your left arm forward to bind with your right in front of your body.

Scoop out of your lower back to extend your torso up and forward. Stay here for five deep breaths.  Sit up as tall as you can. With every inhale, engage mula bandha.  With every exhale, activate uddiyana bandha.  Try to engage your inner left thigh (half-lotus leg) to bring the knee forward and downward.  This will help ensure the knee doesn’t float out to the side. At the end of your fifth breath, inhale to look lengthen on last time. Exhale to release the posture.  Take your vinyasa.  Repeat on the left side.

                                                                                                         Marichyasana D Modification 2

Variation Two (2)
Start this modification from Dandasana (Staff Posture).  Bring your left leg into half-lotus posture.  Bend your right leg up and take your right foot as close as possible to your glute. Lengthen out of your sits bones and take your left arm AROUND your bent right knee.  At the same time, work to push the knee towards your chest.  Take your right hand (or finger tips) to the floor behind you.  This will help you with spinal rotation and balance.

Push down into your right hand.  Root into your right foot and right hip. Activate your left hamstring (squeeze your inner left thigh).  Flex your left foot just enough to keep it active. Breathe here for five deep breaths.  With every inhale, extend up out of your torso and push your right hand into the ground.  Pull your knee to your chest.  Lengthen out of your spine and rotate your torso as you look over your right shoulder (parsva dristhi).  At the end of your fifth breath, inhale to look forward. Exhale, release your arm and right leg.  Take your vinyasa.  Repeat on the left side.

                                                                                                               Marichyasana D Modification 3

Variation Three (3)
Start Variation three from Dandasana (Staff Posture).  Place your left leg into half-lotus posture.  Bend your right leg up and draw your right foot as close as possible to your glute. Extend out of your sits bones (your right glute may lift off the floor, that’s ok).  Take your left arm OVER your bent right knee.  Push your right knee towards your chest.  Press your right hand (or finger tips) into the ground behind you.  This will help you with spinal rotation and balance.

Push down into your right hand.  Root down into your right foot and hip. Activate your left hamstring (squeeze your inner left thigh).  Flex your left foot just enough to keep it engaged (tensegrity). Breathe here for five deep breaths.

With every inhale, try to extend up out of your torso up and root your right hand into the ground.  With every exhale, draw your knee towards your chest.  Extend your spine, look over your right shoulder as you rotate your body to the right.  After your fifth breath in the posture, inhale to look forward. Exhale to release your arm and right leg.  Take your vinyasa.  Repeat on the left side.

Preparatory Postures
Parivr̥tta Trikoṇāsana – https://youtu.be/hfxUTiIz7vQ
Parivr̥tta Pārśva Koṇāsana – https://youtu.be/I6EnkExh_-o
Marichyasana B – https://youtu.be/T470eQ3sVs8
Marichyasana C – https://youtu.be/2zf3-RPPCxY

 

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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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