Utthita Marichyasana

Definition - What does Utthita Marichyasana mean?

Utthita marichyasana is a basic to intermediate standing twist that stretches the waist, sides and hips and serves as a preparatory pose for more challenging twists. The term comes from the Sanskrit, utthita, meaning “extended” or “stretched”; Marichi, which is the name of a great Hindu sage and son of Brahma, the god of creation; and asana, meaning "pose."

This posture is practiced using a chair and a wall. The yogi stands sideways to the wall and places the foot closest to the wall on the seat of the chair. He/she then twists the upper body to face the wall with the opposite hand or elbow resting outside the knee of the raised leg. The other hand presses against the wall for balance and alignment.

Utthita marichyasana is also known as extended Marichi pose in English, and is one of the poses referred to as a standing spinal twist.

Yogapedia explains Utthita Marichyasana

Utthita marichyasana releases tension from the spine and the internal organs and provides an energy boost. As a spinal twist, the pose is believed to activate the body's svadisthana (sacral) chakra, which is the center of creative energy. An open svadisthana is thought to be associated with emotional stability, sexual energy, pleasure and joy.

For better rotation in utthita marichyasana, a yoga block may be placed under the heel of the straight leg; for a deeper stretch, the bent leg can be raised higher with a couple of additional yoga blocks. In other variations of the pose, both hands press against the wall with the arms bent at the elbows or reach straight overhead and touch the wall. For a more challenging variation, the yogi may stand with his/her back to the wall and then twist toward the wall with the closest arm reaching back, leading the twist.

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