An Easy Guide to Marichyasana I

Marichyasana I is named after the son of the Creator Brahma – the Sage Marichi – literally a ray of light.

Marichyasana I

It is great for awakening the torso, as it increases blood circulation to this area, so its beneficial for alleviating menstrual cramps and aids digestion. Marichyasana I is also a great stretch for the back, neck and shoulders.

Watch a clip for this yoga pose 

How to do Marichyasana I, in easy steps

Step 1:

Sit with your legs extended in front of you (Dandasana).

Step 2:

On an exhalation bend your left knee and place your foot flat on the floor, tuck the left inner heel right in - so that it brushes the outside of your right thigh.

Step 3:

Slightly rotate the right leg inwards and press the thigh down towards the floor.

Step 4:

Flex the right foot and push through the heel, toes are pointing straight up.

Step 5:

Now stretch forward, leading with the left shoulder and bring the left arm in front of the left knee and behind the body, bending at the elbow.

Step 6:

Then bend the right arm at the elbow and bring it behind the back to clasp the left hand or wrist - whatever you can get.

Step 7:

Once the hands are in contact return the spine to face forward, trying to create space in the upper body and elongating the spine.

Step 8:

Stay here for a few breaths.

Step 9:

Now start to extend forwards, shoulders square on to your extended foot and bringing your upper body to meet your leg. Eventually you will be able to bring your chin to the leg.

Step 10:

Stay in the pose for up to a minute, breathing steadily.

Step 11:

To come out of the pose, release the hands and bring the left leg down. Repeat on the other side.

Marichyasana I

Yoga pose category:  Seated and twists

Level: 2

Don’t worry if you’re struggling with the bends and twists of this pose – many yogis have difficulty keeping the bent leg close to the chest. First, practice leaning forward with the hands behind the back, and both legs down, to build your flexibility and to stretch the back. Then, as you practice the pose with the leg bent, you will feel more comfortable stretching forward.

Sanskrit words meaning: 

Marichi - a ray of light

Asana - pose

Yoga pose health benefits: 

Like all yoga poses, Marichyasana I has many health benefits. Use it to help with the following health conditions:




Lower back pain

Stiff neck and shoulders

Yoga pose contraindications: 

Don’t practice Marichyasana I if you have any of the following health conditions:

Neck injury

Back injury

Respiratory problems

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Lucy Edge 

is a yoga advocate and writer with three yoga books to her name, including the beloved travel memoir Yoga School Dropout. She writes regularly for the national press, has authored over 150 guides to types of yoga and yoga poses, discovered nearly 250 proven health benefits of yoga through her painstaking classification of 300 clinical studies, and collected more than 500 personal testimonials to the real life benefits of yoga. She is also the creator of our yoga shop – YogaClicks.Store – handpicking yoga brands that are beautifully made by yogis committed to environmental and social sustainability.