Everyone loves a good twist, myself included. We often think of twists as detoxifiers, but they are also great for spine health. Twists also stimulate digestion and restore circulation. According to Light on Yoga, the full version of this twist has many more benefits including,
…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…It also helps to reduce the size of the abdomen.
You can guarantee I will place at least one seated twist in every one of my classes. And Marichyasana III prep is one of my go-to’s. I find this twist accessible to most and very effective at releasing the spine when done mindfully. It is usually placed after a backbend, like Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), and before our seated forward folds.
One of my biggest cues with twists is to always remember to continue to find more length through the spine, then you can choose to take the twist deeper. As with most of our seated postures, if you can’t keep a natural inward curve in your low back as you sit with you legs out straight in Dandasana, please sit on a prop, whether it be a folded blanket or a block.
And finally, many people think we can relax as we twist, but the abdominal muscles must stay engaged. This will help the size reduction of your waist that Iyengar claims.
Without further ado, here are the steps for Marichyasana III prep:
- Sit in Dandasana, with your legs stretched out straight in front.
- Bend your right knee. Interlace your fingers around your ankle to pull your heel in to your hip. The inner side of your right foot should touch the inseam of your left thigh.
- Inhale, stretch your arms over head. Lengthen through your spine.
- Exhale, tone your core and twist to the right without the use of your arms.
- Keep your arms overhead as you inhale, find more length, and exhale, use your core to find more twist.
- Place your right hand to the floor behind you and bend your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.*
- Use your arms to continue to find more length with your inhales, and more twist with your exhales.
- Turn your gaze over your right shoulder.
- Keep the twist, but turn your gaze over your left shoulder. Inhale, release the twist the rest of the way.
- Repeat to the left.
*If you can’t get your left elbow to the outside of your right knee, you can bring your palm or elbow crease to your knee, as shown below.
If you try out this twist, be sure to let me know how it went for you in the comments or on social media! If you have any requests for future pose breakdowns, please leave a comment with your request. Happy twisting!