(Marichyasana III)

How to Perform

Sit on the floor. If you have tight hips and hamstrings, elevate the hips by sitting on a folded blanket. Actively move the sit bones down into their support to establish a strong base. Bend the right knee and bring the right foot to the outside of the left thigh. Keep the left leg strong and rotated slightly inward. Press the back of the left heel and the base of the big toe away from the pelvis. Press the inner right foot actively into the floor while softening the inner right groin. These actions will help you lengthen your spine, which is the most important step for a successful twist. Exhale and rotate your torso to the right. Bring the left arm to the outside of the right thigh. Bring the right hand to the mat just behind your pelvis. Press your right fingertips onto the floor to lift the torso slightly up and forward.

Sink the inner right groin deeper into the pelvis. Lengthen your front belly up out of the groin along the inner right thigh. Continue lengthening the spine with each inhalation and moving into the twist with each exhalation. Hug the thigh to your belly and lean back against your shoulder blades. Gently turn your head to the right to complete the twist while maintaining focus on the breath and body. Allow the neck and head to follow the line of the spine. Stay in the pose for 5-7 breaths, then release with an exhalation and repeat to the left side.


Avoid this pose if you have high or low blood pressure, a migraine or headache, diarrhoea, or insomnia. For any back or spine injury perform this pose only under the supervision of an experienced teacher.


The benefits include a massage of the abdominal organs and stimulation of the brain. It stretches the shoulders, relieves mild backache and hip pain, and can strengthen and stretch the spine.


If bringing your hand to the floor causes rounding in your lower back, place a block underneath your hand to lengthen the spine.

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