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Marichyasana: Benefits and steps | HealthShots

Sage twist pose may improve digestion and keep stress at bay. Here are the health benefits of marichyasana and steps to do it.

Marichyasana yoga pose, also known as the sage twist pose, is a good pose for digestion. It stimulates abdominal organs such as the liver and kidney, which may improve food digestion and eliminate waste properly. This yoga pose begins by sitting on the floor with one leg extended and the other bent, foot flat on the floor beside you. It also includes stretches, twists, and meditation practices that may improve your physical and mental health. If you experience stress and anxiety, this pose may help to improve focus and concentration by stimulating the nervous system. Here is everything you need to know about marichyasana or the sage twist pose.

What is marichyasana?

Marichyasana, also known as the sage twist pose, is a seated yoga asana that involves twisting the torso. The name “Marichyasana” is derived from Sanskrit, and combines the words “Marich” which means ray of light (sun or moon), and “asana,” which means seat or posture.

“This pose is part of the ashtanga yoga that offers a deep stretch to the spine, shoulders, and hips, benefiting both the body and mind. This pose also promotes blood circulation, relieves stress, and stimulates abdominal organs such as the liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach, pancreas, small intestine, gallbladder, and reproductive system, says yoga expert Dr Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra.

A woman getting ready to do sage twist pose
Sage twist pose may help with digestion. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the benefits of marichyasana or the sage twist pose?

Marichyasana or sage twist pose offers a range of benefits that contribute to both physical and mental well-being. Here are some of the notable benefits of the pose:

1. Promotes digestion

The twisting motion in marichyasana gently massages your abdominal organs, which may aid digestion and elimination of waste. According to a 2023 study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, yoga therapy may help with indigestion, bloating, and burning sensation. Also, an improvement in appetite was also noticed by the researchers.

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2. Boosts spine health

Marichyasana or the sage twist pose lengthens and strengthens the spine. The twist may help maintain good spinal rotation, which may improve flexibility and potentially reduce back pain. A 2013 study published in the General Medicine journal suggests that yoga, including twists, may help manage chronic low back pain.

3. Enhances blood circulation

“The twisting action in the sage twist pose squeezes and releases various parts of your torso, potentially improving blood circulation throughout the body. Improved circulation can deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your organs and tissues,” says the expert.

4. Reduces stress

Yoga can help relieve stress, anxiety, and sadness, according to a study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. Marichyasana can be a deeply relaxing pose. The focus on breath and the gentle twist can help calm the mind and promote feelings of well-being.

5. Improves hip flexibility

Sage twist pose stretches and opens the hips, further releasing tension in the hip joints and muscles. The bent leg in the pose stretches the hip flexor muscles. This muscle group connects your lower spine and thigh bone, and tightness here can contribute to lower back pain and restricted hip mobility. “As you twist, the hip flexor on the bent leg lengthens, improving flexibility and range of motion in the hip joint, explains the expert.

Dandasana or staff pose to do sage twist pose
Begin with staff pose to do the sage twist pose. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to do marichyasana or the sage twist pose?

Here is a step by step guide on how to do marichyasana or sage twist pose –

  • Begin sitting on a mat with your legs extended in front of you like you would in a Staff pose or Dandasana.
  • Keep your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.
  • Bend your right knee and place the right foot on the floor, bringing the heel close to the right sitting bone.
  • Ensure your right shin remains parallel to the front of the mat.
  • Inhale and extend both arms overhead.
  • Exhale, twist your torso to the right, bringing your left elbow to the outside of the right knee.
  • Reach your right hand behind your back or around your right thigh to clasp your left wrist or fingers.
  • Alternatively, you can reach your right hand under your right knee and clasp your hands behind your back.
  • Inhale to lengthen your spine upward, lifting through the crown of your head.
  • Exhale to deepen the twist, gently rotating your torso further to the right.
  • Maintain the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply.
  • Keep your gaze fixed at a point ahead of you, focusing on maintaining balance and alignment.
  • Exhale as you release the twist.
  • Extend both legs out in front of you again.
  • Repeat on the opposite side, bending the left knee and twisting to the left.

Side effects of marichyasana or sage twist pose

While yoga asanas are generally considered safe, it is essential to avoid overexertion during the practice. Mindful execution with proper alignment is key for ensuring safety in most individuals. However, it is imperative to attune to the signals of your body, adapting postures when necessary. It is important to consult a qualified instructor, especially if you are pregnant or have any specific health concerns relates to the spine.

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