Marichyasana III is one of the sitting lateral twisting postures.

Marichyasana III

Technique

  1. Sit on the floor with the legs stretched straight in front.
  2. Bend the left knee; place the sole and heel of the left foot flat on the floor. The shin of the left leg should be perpendicular to the floor and the calf should touch the thigh. Place the left heel near the perineum. The inner side of the left foot should touch the inner side of the outstretched right thigh.
  3. With an exhalation, turn the spine about 90 degrees to the left, so that the chest goes beyond the bent left thigh and bring the right arm over the left thigh.
  4. Place the right shoulder beyond the left knee and stretch the right arm out forwards by turning the spine still more to the left and stretching the region at the back of the right floating ribs. Take two breaths.
  5. With an exhalation, twist the right arm round the left knee, flex the right elbow and place the right wrist at the back of the waist. Inhale and hold the pose.
  6. Exhale deeply and turn the left arm from the shoulder behind the back. Either clasp the left hand behind the back with the right hand or vice versa. In the beginning, one finds it difficult to twist the trunk sideways, but with practice, the armpit touches the bent knee. After one has twisted the arm round the knee, one also finds it difficult to clasp the fingers of one hand with the other. Gradually one learns to clasp the fingers, then the palm and lastly to hold the hand at the wrist behind the back.
  7. The right arm should lock the left bent knee tightly. There should be no space between the right armpit and the bent left knee.
  8. After clasping the hands at the back, turn the spine still more to the left by tugging at the clasped hands.
  9. The whole of the outstretched right leg should remain straight and securely on the floor, but you will not be able to achieve this to start with. Tighten the muscles of the outstretched thigh so that the knee-cap is pulled up towards the thigh and also tighten the muscles of the calf of the outstretched leg. Then the leg will remain firm and extended on the floor.
  10. Stay in this position from half a minute to a minute with normal breathing. The neck may be turned either way to gaze at the toes of the extended leg on the floor or to look over the shoulder.
  11. Unclasp the hands at the back and turn the trunk back to its original position. Lower the bent leg and extend it fully on the floor.
  12. Then repeat the pose on the other side. This time bend the right knee and place the right foot firmly on the floor so that the right heel touches the perineum and the inner side of the right foot touches the outstretched left thigh. Turn the trunk about 90 degrees to the right so that the left armpit touches the bent right knee. With an exhalation, twist the left arm round the right knee and bring the left hand to the back of the waist. Then throw the right arm behind the back from the shoulder and flexing the right elbow, bring the right hand to the left hand and clasp them. Turn still more to the right and gaze at either the toes of the outstretched left leg or over the right shoulder. Stay on this side also for the same length of time. Unclasp the hands, turn the trunk back to normal, stretch the right leg on the floor and relax.

Effects of Marichyasana III

By the regular practice of Marichyasana III, splitting backaches, lumbago and pains in the hips disappear rapidly. The liver and the spleen are contracted and so are toned and cease to be sluggish. The muscles of the neck gain power. Sprains in the shoulder and displacement of the shoulder joints are relieved and the shoulder movements become free. The intestines also benefit from this asana. Its effects will be less on lean persons, for whom there are better poses described later. It also helps to reduce the size of the abdomen.

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