Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Sage Marichi's Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

The first variation of Sage Marichi's Pose, also known as Marichyasana I, will work your core and relieve aching shoulders.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits Variations Partnering

Marichyasana I

(Pronounced as "mar-EE-chee-AHS-anna")

According to the Hindu epics, Sage Marichi is one of the original sons of Brahma, the creator of the world. The word Marichi also means "a ray of light."

How to do Sage Marichi I Pose

Step One

Sit on your yoga mat with your legs extended straight out before you. Bending your left knee, position your left foot flat against the mat right in front of your left buttock. Your left calf should press against the back of your left thigh, and your kneecap will point straight up at the ceiling. The inside edge of your left foot will make contact with the inside of your right thigh. Pull the top of your left thigh firmly against the left side of your torso.

Step Two

On an exhalation, twist your torso toward the right. Then reach your left arm all the way forward as if you're trying to reach your right toes, sliding your left arm against the inside of your left bent leg. Your left knee should press against the back of your left armpit as you wrap your left arm back around your left shin. Bend your left elbow and reach your left hand behind your waist. Then reach your right hand behind your back to grab your left hand. If you can only grasp the fingers together, that is fine. If you have more flexibility though, then it's better to try and grasp your wrist.

Step Three

Keep a tight grip on your hands behind your back as you pull your left shoulder back. Turn your torso to the left so that your chest is perpendicular to your extended right leg. Point your right toes slightly. Gaze at your right big toe and lift your sternum.

Step Four

Take a few breaths. On an exhalation, bend forward while pushing your hands back behind you. Bring your forehead down to touch your right knee. Then try to bring your nose to the right knee, and finally, see if you can touch the right knee with your chin. Your shoulders should stay level with each other and parallel to the floor. Do not let your shoulders crunch up near your neck. Push your hands back and tuck your shoulder blades into your back to pull your shoulders away from the neck.

Step Five

Hold this posture for 30 seconds. Over time, you will be able to stay here for up to a minute. Inhale as you come out of the pose. Then repeat it on your other side for the same duration.

Beginner's Tip:

To help the bent-knee thigh stay pressed against your torso, take a yoga belt and make it into a very big loop. Slip it over your head and pull the belt down so that it wraps around the bottom of your shin and your sacrum. Tighten the belt to hold it in place.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Marichyasana I

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

  • Severe breathing problems like asthma
  • Irregular bowel movements such as diarrhea

Modifications and Props:

If you are having trouble bending forward, then sit on a folded yoga blanket as you practice to make it easier. You can also grasp a yoga belt around your back if you cannot grab your hands behind your back.

Deepen the Pose:

After you have stretched to your maximum capacity, then turn your head away from your bent knee and look up behind you toward the ceiling to get a deeper release in your upper back.

Therapeutic Applications:

  • Promotes regular bowel movements
  • Relieves shoulder strain from working long hours at a desk


  • Prepares the back for deeper forward bends
  • Strengthens the back, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands
  • Stimulates blood flow to abdominal organs including the liver and kidneys
  • Boosts digestion
  • Tones the abdomen and core muscles


If you want to practice just the arm stretch and twisting to make the pose easier, then perform Marichyasana I while arranging your legs in a new position. While sitting on your mat, bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the floor. Bring the right foot underneath your left leg so that your right heel touches the outside of your left hip. Lay your right leg down on the mat. Now adjust your left foot so that the sole of your left foot presses into the mat right in front of your right ankle. From here, you can perform the rest of the pose as normal. This stretch helps you also prepare for Malasana, or Garland Pose.


It takes time to be able to train your muscles to bend forward while maintaining your grip on the wrists. Ask a partner to help you by kneeling behind you as you come into this pose. Then after you have a firm grip of your wrists, ask them to press your back in between your shoulder blades to help you bend forward. Next, they should press their hands against the back of the shoulder that is not wrapped around your knee. As they push this shoulder forward, you focus on twisting your abdomen with a long exhalation.

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9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
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Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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