How to Do Marichyasana A in Yoga

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Also Known As: Marichyasana I, Marichi's Pose, Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi I

Targets: Shoulders, back, hamstrings, hips

Level: Beginner

Marichyasana is a pose from the Ashtanga primary series. It is done about midway through the seated poses after the hips and hamstrings have been warmed up with Janu Sirsasana. Marichyasana A is followed by the B, C, and D variations of the pose, which incorporate more forward folding and twisting.

The pose is named for Marichi, one of the sons of the Hindu god of creation, Brahma.


This pose stretches the shoulders, back, hamstrings, and hips. It is a great stretch for runners to help relieve tight hamstrings. It is also regarded as a calming pose and one that can help you with introspection.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by sitting up tall in Staff Pose (Dandasana) with your legs straight in front of you.

  1. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot close your right buttock. Leave about a hand width's distance between your foot and your opposite thigh.
  2. Keep your left leg extended and engaged with the foot flexed.
  3. Reach your right arm forward toward your left foot. Instead of grabbing your left foot, turn your right palm to the right side of your mat with your thumb pointing down.
  4. Wrap your right arm around the front of your right shin. Your upper arm and shoulder come forward to make this possible.
  5. Reach your left arm up toward the ceiling, opening your chest to the left while keeping your right arm in position.
  6. Drop your left arm behind your back, reaching to join your hands.
  7. Bind your hands together behind your back.
  8. Sit up tall with a long, straight spine. Inhale.
  9. Exhale and begin to fold into a forward bend, keeping your hands bound and your spine long. Keep your gaze (drishti) on the left toes. Your right knee will move to the right, but keep your right foot firmly planted on the floor. It's OK if your right buttock comes up off the ground.
  10. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
  11. Come back to a perpendicular spine before releasing the bind and doing the pose with the right leg extended.
  12. If you want to do it full Ashtanga style, jump back to Chaturanga and take a vinyasa before doing the other side.

Common Mistakes

Be aware of these common missteps so you can get the most from this pose:

  • Don't allow your torso to roll to the outside, keep it extended forward.
  • Don't rush into the forward bend. It's important to keep the integrity of your spine, not just slump forward.
  • If the bind is not possible, don't force it. You can do work on holding the leg position as you do a forward fold.

Modifications and Variations

If you find the move difficult, there are modifications you can use. Adding a dimension of challenge once you're ready can then help you take things to the next level.

Need a Modification?

You can use a strap between your hands if they don't meet up behind your back.

Sitting up on a folded blanket can help you get the necessary hip rotation to make this pose more comfortable.

Up for a Challenge?

Try deepening the bind by holding the left wrist with your right hand.

You can start to straighten your arms behind your back a bit if possible.

Eventually, your chin may come to your shin in the forward fold.

Safety and Precautions

Avoid this pose if you have a back injury.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.