First Weeks Flow
Second half of the month
Marichyasana 111 - Abdominal Twist
Marichi = literally means a ray of light (of the sun or moon). Marichi is the son of Brahma and chief of the Maruts (“shining ones”), the war-like storm gods. He’s one of the seven (sometimes 10 or 12) seers (rishis) or lords of creation (prajapatis), who intuitively “see” and declare the divine law of the universe (dharma). Marichi is the great-grandfather of Manu (“man, thinking, intelligent”), the Vedic Adam and the “father” of humanity.
This deep, binding twist gives an intense stretch to the shoulder joint, along with a deep opening in the hip and the spine. There are very few poses that have such an incredible release in so many areas of the body at once.
Twisting the spine
A twist in the spine not only stretches and strengthens the various muscles which span the back and run along the spinal column, but it also helps relieve and balance pressure on intervertebral disks.
Increased abdominal pressure
Not only does intra-abdominal pressure improve digestive function, but it also calms the body by triggering a relaxation response (lowering blood pressure and slowing heart-rate), and this relaxed state promotes homeostasis and optimal functioning of the body systems.
The increased pressure also challenges our breathing, forcing the diaphragm and accessory muscles to work a little bit harder to sustain a deep and even breathing pattern. As with any exercise, challenging the body in a controlled and safe way will improve it's function.
It's often difficult for beginners to sit upright after bending the knee as described in step 1. The pelvis tends to sink backward, which rounds the back and could cause back pain. To offset this probli and keep the pelvis in a neutral position, sit on a thickly folded blanket or bolster.
• provides a thorough stretching of the back and neck
• increases flexibility of the spinal column
• detoxifies by wringing excess blood from the internal organs
• stimulates the abdominal area and improves circulation and digestion
• improve your immunity by stimulating the lymphatic system
• Relieves fatigue and menstrual discomfort
- Massages abdominal organs, including the liver and kidneys
- Stretches the shoulders
- Stimulates the brain
- Relieves mild backache and hip pain
- Strengthens and stretches the spine
Contraindications and Cautions
Serious back or spine injury: Perform this pose only with the supervision of an experienced teacher. Also avoid this pose if you have:
- High or low blood pressure
- During pregnancy, especially after the first trimester, deep twists are not recommended. However, if you would like to do a less intense twist and feel no ill effects while entering the pose, you can twist in the opposite direction to avoid placing deep pressure on the abdominal-pelvic cavity. With the right knee bent, you would bring your left hand behind you and right arm to the inside of your right leg while twisting gently to the left.
- Some women find deep twists uncomfortable during menstruation.
- If you often experience discomfort or instability in the sacroiliac joint or lumbar spine, seated twists may place increased pressure in these areas and exacerbate your symptoms. Work with an experienced yoga teacher to adapt this pose to your needs, or to find substitute postures that have the same benefits.
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