According to Hindu beliefs, Marichi was the son of Brahma, and one of the 10 Prajapatis, caretakers of creation as appointed by Brahma. Marichyasana is a spinal twist but also requires a fair amount of hip flexibility to execute comfortably, so go slowly and us props as needed.
From Dandasana, bend the right knee to bring the right foot in front of the right sit bone with about a palms width distance in between foot and thigh. Pull the right hip back slightly. The majority of the twist here (or in any spinal twist really) happens in the thoracic (upper) spine, so un-squaring the hips allows you to stabilize the lumbar spine and direct the twist into the upper back. Firm the back of the left leg into the mat and keep the left toes pointed straight up. Lengthen the spine, pull the belly in to the thigh and lift the crown of the head up toward the ceiling. Beginners may find that a lack of hip flexibility prevents straightening of the spine here. To counter this, add a couple of blankets or a bolster under the sit bones.
To begin the twist, wrap the left arm around the right thigh, place the right hand on the floor behind you, and lengthen the spine again on an inhale. Make sure that your right sit bone stays grounded as you begin to twist. If you can maintain an upright spine, you can bring the left elbow to the outside of the right leg. Advanced practitioners can work to bind here, reaching the left arm around the right knee and the right arm around the back. If you find that you lose alignment in the attempt to move further in the twist, you will be better off staying where you are to maintain focus on keeping the spine as straight as possible and the sit bones grounded. Draw the shoulder blades down the back and widen across the front of the chest and shoulders. Try and keep the right knee from crossing the center line by engaging the right abductors. Use the breath to lengthen the spine as you inhale and empty and engage the belly as you exhale, supporting the lumbar spine while twisting from the thoracic.
You may notice that breathing can be more difficult in the twist. The twist restricts abdominal breathing as well as the expansion of the lower ribs and therefore restricts diaphragmatic breathing. While breathing may be slightly restricted here, try and make sure that the breath stays even and steady. Hold the pose for as long as feels comfortable, then gently unwind and after taking a few breaths in neutral, find the second side.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!