Twists


Utthita Marichyasana (Extended Marichi's Pose)

Extended Marichi's Pose

Level: All levels

Utthita = extended or stretched. Marichi = A great sage who was the son of the Hindu god of creation, Brahma, and the grandfather of Surya, the god of the sun.

You will need a block or two, a folding chair and the wall for this pose. Presented here are three different hand/arm positions to take you deeper into the pose.

Organizing the Pose

    Preparation
    • Place a chair with its back to the wall. Place a block on top turned up the tallest way. If you have long legs, you might need two blocks to get the knee high enough. If your legs are proportionally shorter, you can turn the block down a level. If you have large feet, arrange the blocks to have as much of the foot supported as possible.
    • Stand with your right hip next to the wall, your left hip directly above the ankle and the foot pointing straight ahead, not turned out. Bend the right leg and place the right foot up on the block.
    • Link the thumbs, inhale and reach the arms up alongside the ears.
    • Exhale and turn the trunk towards the wall and bring the arms into position.

    Arm Variation 1 (shown)

    • Bring the left hand to the right knee and the right hand to the wall.
    • Lift and broaden both elbows. Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears.
    • Inhale, lift and open the chest.
    • Exhale and use the arms to sip the chest around. Keep the head centered over the chest. Hold this position for several breaths.
    • Exhale and release.
    • Repeat the pose on the second side, taking care to hold it for the same amount of time.

    Arm Variation 2

    • Bring the left elbow to the outside of the right knee and the right hand to the wall.
    • Inhale, wedge the elbow down the inside of the knee, pull the right hand down and lift the trunk, opening the chest.
    • Exhale, press the elbow into the knee and use both it and the right hand to roll the trunk to the right.
    • Turn the head to look over either the left or the right shoulder. Hold this position for several breaths.
    • Exhale and release.
    • Repeat the pose on the second side, taking care to hold it for the same amount of time.

    Arm Variation 3

    • Cross the left arm over the right thigh and wedge the knee as high up the left upper arm towards the armpit as possible. This will result in the trunk being more on a diagonal than the other variations.
    • Plant both palms on the wall.
    • Inhale and press the palms into the wall, as if trying to pull the wall down, to lift the trunk and open the chest.
    • Exhale and use the hands and arms to spin the trunk and chest to the right. Turn the head to look over either shoulder. Hold this position for several breaths.
    • Exhale and release.
    • Repeat the pose on the second side, taking care to hold it for the same amount of time.

Practice Points

    • Press the standing inner thigh back and widen the hip crease to keep the right groin open.
    • Lift and lengthen the sides of the trunk as evenly as possible.
    • Soften and widen the upper back and the back of the neck.
    • Soften the lower abdomen, twist from the upper abdomen.