Marichi was the son of Brahma. Brahma is the Hindu Creator god; the primeval first god. Having created heaven and earth, Brahma went on to create seven sons, of which Marichi was one. Marichi literally means a ray of light from either the moon or the sun.
Legend has it that one day Marichi went to the forest to collect wood and flowers and returned to his home very tired. He called to his wife, Dharmavrata, and insisted that she was to wash his feet for him. As she was doing this Brahma arrived. Dharmavrata did not know she ought to continue to wash her husband’s feet or turn her attention to Brahma. She chose to turn her attention to Brahma and suffered the wrath of her husband. Marichi became very angry and put a curse on his wife, turning her into a stone.
Dharmavrata was upset by this believing that she was being punished unnecessarily. Be that as it may she repented and spent many years in meditation. Lord Visnu was impressed by Dharmavrata’s devotion, granted her a boon (i.e. a wish). Dharmavrata’s only wish was to have Marichi’s curse lifted. Unfortunately, Marichi was such a powerful sage that this was impossible to do. Instead, Dharmavrata was transformed into a holy stone, which was desired by all gods.
Judging by this story, Marichi’s position as a great sage and his powers may well explain why such a powerful, energy-giving twisting posture bears his namesake.
How to get into the position
Sitting on the floor firmly with both sitting bones and with your legs stretched out in front of you i.e. in Dandanasa (a.k.a. ‘Staff Pose’), bend your right knee and put the foot on the floor, with the heel as close to your sitting bone as comfortably possible. Inhale and reach both of your arms out in front of you. Then exhale and turn your palms up (so as to revolve your hands so that your knuckles are facing each other), turn your chest and wrap around the bent leg, i.e. taking your right arm around your right knee and, at the same time, bringing your left arm around your back to bind the hands (looking over your left shoulder).
If you are flexible enough to bind at the wrist, then it’s the hand doing the binding that grasps the opposite wrist.
Hold the position for five full breaths. On each inhalation, extend your spine. On each exhalation pull your knee in to turn further back.
Repeat the position on the left hand side for five full breaths.
Remember to keep your straight leg and bent-knee foot grounded.
Helps prevent constipation and fights fatigue
Helps with menstrual discomfort, asthma, sciatica, backache and digestive problems
Contraindications and Cautions
Avoid this position if you have any serious back or spine injury.
Damian Cadman-Jones is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga™