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Yoga Exercise - Sage Twist (Marichyasana)

The Sage Twist is an important Asana to strengthen the back. It tones and massages the abdominal area, especially liver, spleen, and intestines. It also relieves lower back pain caused by muscular tension.

STEP 1: Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you.

STEP 2: Bend your left leg towards your chest.

STEP 3: Rotate your torso toward your left knee. Wrap your right arm around the left knee, positioning the knee in the crook of the right elbow.

STEP 4: Clasp your hands. Keep your back straight all throughout the pose.

As a safety guideline, make sure not to twist your back too far or you may worsen any back pain you currently feel.


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Article Comments
Thursday 21st February 2008 at 5:29:19 PM  

In the illustration of Step 3 of the Sage Twist, it appears that the left arm is being wrapped around the left leg, while the text sayt 6that the right arm should be warpped around the left leg. Which is correect?

Monday 24th March 2008 at 2:10:26 PM  

it'sactually your left arm (yes the instructions for step 3 are incorrect, the illustration is right). It wraps around the inside of your left leg, then reach towards your back to clasp your right hand behind your back. You do not need to be able to clasps hands though to do this pose. Start with what is comfortable =)

Tuesday 25th March 2008 at 8:10:10 PM  

Well, if you look at the animation closely, it's the right arm that is wrapped around the left knee... so the text in step 3 is correct.

Tuesday 25th March 2008 at 9:17:37 PM  

yeah, your right if you watch the animation (it's quick though) and the illustration is hard to tell. But the way I described it is how my instructors have always demonstrated in class. I suppose there can be variations to the pose depending on who has taught who. Twisting the opposite way (as the animation shows) would offer a deeper stretch, however with my lower back injury I will stick with what I am already doing.

Wednesday 26th March 2008 at 12:47:01 AM  

True... there can be several variations for each yoga pose. I agree with what you have said before - start with what is comfortable. It is important to listen to your body.

Tuesday 8th July 2008 at 2:56:55 AM  

What is the best way to counterpose a spine twist? I have heard that back bends could cause discs to herniate. Is this correct?

Saturday 27th December 2008 at 3:38:35 PM  

As a physical therapist specializing in the spine and a yoga practitioner, I can make a few points about herniated disks and twising yoga poses. If you are not having any pain before or during any asana, there is nothing to worry about. The anatomy of a healthy disk will allow all types of movement of the spine safely. However, if you have any spinal pain, I would highly recommend avoiding twisting and bending movements. If anyone reading this post is having radiating pain down their leg- go see a physican ASAP.

Saturday 3rd January 2009 at 2:31:31 PM  

What I have learnt as a yoga instructor is that all of the above postures described by the animation AND by members Gratefulb and KC are correct variations of Marichiasan, or Sage Pose.

Variations may include Marichiasan A, B, C and D:

Marichiasan A (no twist) Described by Gratefulb, it is a forward fold with one leg bent towards chest, reach forward, bend arm around front of SAME SIDE leg, and hands clasped behind back, gaze is forward.

Marichiasan B (no twist) Same as A, but bend the straight leg on the inside so that ankles are touching.

Marichiasan C (twist) With one leg bent towards chest (as in A), place OPPOSITE hand on knee (or opposite elbow on outside of knee), gaze is towards the back. You are twisting towards the bent leg.

Marchiasan D (twist) Shown in animation with OPPOSITE elbow on outside of knee, hands clasped behind back, gaze is towards the back.

In the animation, from Step 3 onward we are looking at his back.

Cheers ;)

Monday 5th October 2009 at 5:28:23 AM  

hi it would be great if these animation have a audio aswell

Monday 12th October 2009 at 12:28:57 PM  

why is it so hard to do yoga moves when your not really out of shape?

Monday 16th November 2009 at 5:58:02 AM  

@Samantha - That is because even though you are in shape, a lot of your muscles and fibres are being moved in a direction they are not used to.

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