Marichyasana I

FIVE*

This asana is dedicated to the sage Marichi, son of the Creator, Brahma. Marichi was the grandfather of Surya (the Sun God).

TECHNIQUE

1. Sit on the floor with the legs stretched straight in front. (Plate 35)

3. Stretch the left shoulder forward till the left armpit touches the perpendicular left shin. Turn the left arm round the left shin and thigh, bend the left elbow and throw the left forearm behind the back at the level of the waist. Then move the right hand behind the back and clasp the left hand with the right at the wrist or vice versa. If that is not possible then clasp the palms or the fingers. (Plate 70)

4. Now, turn the spine to the left, keeping the outstretched right leg straight. Remain in this position gazing at the outstretched right big toe and take a few deep breaths.

2. Bend the left knee and place the sole and heel of the left foot flat on the floor. The shin of the left leg should be perpendicular to the floor and the calf should touch the thigh. Place the left heel near the perineum. The inner side of the left foot should touch the inner side of the outstretched right thigh.

5. Exhale, and bend forward. Rest the forehead, then the nose, next the lips and lastly the chin on the right knee. (Plate 71) While in this position, keep both shoulders parallel to the floor and breathe normally. Stay in the pose for about 30 seconds and see that the back of the entire extended leg rests on the floor throughout.

6. Inhale, raise the head from the right knee (Plate 70), release the hands, straighten the left leg and come to position 1.

7. Repeat the pose on the other side for an equal length of time.

EFFECTS

The fingers gain in strength by the practice of this asana. In the preceding asanas (namely, Janu Sirsasana (Plate 63), Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Plate 66) and Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana (Plate 69) the abdominal organs are made to contract by gripping a leg with the hands. In this pose the hands do not hold the legs. To bend forward and to rest the chin on the knee of the extended leg the abdominal organs have to contract vigorously. This creates a better circulation of blood round the abdominal organs and keeps them healthy. In the beginning it is very difficult to bend forward at all after gripping both hands behind the back, but it comes with practice. The dorsal region of the spine is also exercised in this pose.

NOTE

The four poses, Janu Sirsasana, Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana and Marichyasana I, are preparatory poses for the correct Paschimottanasana. (Plate 81) It is difficult for many to get a good grip on the feet in Paschimottanasana even after several attempts. These four asanas give one sufficient elasticity in the back and legs so that one gradually achieves the correct Paschimottanasana (Plate 81) as described later. Once this is done with ease, these four asanas can be practised once or twice a week instead of daily.

351 Upavistha Konasana

NINE*

Upavistha means seated. Kona means an angle.

72

diaphragm up and hold the pose for a few seconds with deep breaths. (Plate 72)

5. Now clasp the feet with the hands. Exhale, bend forward and rest the head on the floor. (Plate 73) Then extend the neck and place the chin on the floor.

6. Then, try to rest the chest on the floor. (Plate 74) Stay in this position from 30 to 60 seconds with normal breathing.

7. Inhale, raise the trunk off the floor (Plate 72) and release the hold on the feet, bring them together and relax.

351 Upavistha Konasana

NINE*

Upavistha means seated. Kona means an angle.

TECHNIQUE

1. Sit on the floor with the legs stretched straight in front. (Plate 35)

2. Move the legs sideways one by one and widen the distance between them as far as you can. Keep the legs extended throughout and see that the back of the entire legs rests on the floor.

3. Catch the big toes between the respective thumbs and index and middle fingers.

4. Keep the spine erect and extend the ribs. Pull the

73

effects

The asana stretches the hamstrings and helps the blood to circulate properly in the pelvic region and keeps it healthy. It prevents the development of hernia of which it can cure mild cases and relieves sciatic pains. Since the asana controls and regularizes the menstrual flow and also stimulates the ovaries, it is a boon to women.

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