Monday, May 25, 2015

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Marichyasana

Move into Marichyasana I, “the pose dedicated to the sage, Marichi” in order to create more opening and flexibility in the shoulders, spine, chest and hamstrings, while stimulating the organs and improving digestion. Marichi in sanskrit means, “ray of light.” In yoga, we work to become more aware of what is going on in the mind and the body, in order to illuminate truths about ourselves and the world around us. We work to create expansion in the breath, body and mind to create more balance, harmony and sustainable joy.

To do Marichyasana I, first come to sit in Dandasana, Staff Pose: Come to sit with the legs extended out in front of you. Option to sit on a blanket or towel for support if the hamstrings are tight. Turn the blanket or towel to sit on the edge of the blanket, like a diamond, so that only the buttocks is rested on the blanket. Extend the legs out in front of you. Notice the sitting bones, or the proper name, the ischial tuberosity, are grounded neutral onto the ground. To check alignment, bring the palms to the sides of the body and gently rock the pelvis forward and backward to find a neutral seat. If the hamstrings are tight, they may cause you to sit uneven. Use a blanket or towel for support in order to raise your seat and create proper alignment.

On an inhale breath, sit tall and bring the palms to the sides. Align the palms under the shoulders and bring the fingertips facing forward. On an exhale, draw the low-belly in towards the spine. Continue breathing slow and smooth inhales and exhales while flexing the toes towards the face and while pressing the thighs downward and slightly rotating them inward towards each other. The natural shape of the spine is encouraged in this posture.

Marichyasana I: Bend the right knee, drawing the right heel in towards the pelvis and in-line with the outside edge of the right hip. Aligning the heel to the outside of the hip, will help to encourage proper alignment in the pose, and encouraging support and space in the hip when the hip moves into flexion, or when bringing the torso forward towards the foot.

Bring the palms around the right knee, with the fingers interlaced, and hug the knee in towards the chest. Notice the spine and torso become more erect and the sitting bones become more firmly established and grounded into the floor. If the right hip wants to lift off of the ground, encourage pressing the right hip back downward.

Draw the shoulder-blades down the back. Perhaps this is enough sensation and opening for the hip and hamstring. Option to stay here and breathe, create long and smooth inhales and exhales for 3-5 full-rounds of breath.
To move further: Bring the left palm to the right ankle. Drop the right shoulder in front of the right knee, bringing the torso to the inside of the right knee. Reach the right arm forward and extend out of the waist, dropping the right shoulder downwards, towards the right foot.

Wrap the right arm around the knee and behind the back. Bring the left arm behind the back and meet the palms behind the back, fingers interlaced into a bind, or if accessible, grab the left wrist. Option to use a strap to support the bind. On the inhale lengthen the heart space and the spine.  On an exhale, reach the heart space forwards, towards the extended-foot. Drop the left shoulder down, to “square-off” more in the area of the shoulders. Gaze at the tip of the nose or towards the foot. Lengthen the back of the neck, by dropping the chin towards the chest. Find the balance of ease and effort in the pose. Use the breath as a tool, send the exhale towards the areas that feel tightness and tension. Stay here for 3-5, full-rounds of breath. One inhale and one exhale equals one full-round of breath.
Mindfully come out of the pose, by releasing the bind or strap. Level off in the area of the shoulders, lift the gaze and slowly rise up with a flat back. Repeat the same instructions on the opposite side.

Move into Supta Badha Konasana to find release in the low-back, or lumbar spine, and find relaxation to the hips and low-back. To come into the pose: Start in a seated position. Bring the soles of the feet to touch and butterfly the knees open wide. Bring your palms behind you, near your sitting bones.  Gently come down to the forearms and make your way down to your back. Option to use a block under the knees or head for support.

To create more connection to the breath, bring one palm to the belly and one palm to the chest. Relax the face and the jaws. Release the tongue from the roof of the mouth. Stay here for 3-5 inhalations and exhalations or longer. Notice how you feel.

Physically, yoga helps us to become more aware of the subtle movements and energies of the body, by articulating each posture with mindful movements and expansive and rhythmic breathing. The 8 Limbs of Yoga, written by Patanjali, encourage the practice of santosha, or the art of being content with where we are in each posture. In addition, the practice of ahimsa, or non-violent thoughts and actions, both in the physical practice of yoga, asana, as well as in life, encouraging more harmony and balance in our lives.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga and breathing techniques.
Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Christi Iacono, 500 hr. cert. yoga instructor and owner of In Rhythms Yoga

Christi Iacono is a 500 hour certified yoga instructor, kids yoga instructor, and owner of In Rhythms Yoga. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mount Streets. She guides adults, kids and families in the ancient tradition of yoga. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her daily personal practice. She is passionate about sharing her experience, inspiration, and dedication with her students. She is committed to being a life-long student and teacher of the practice. Christi carefully works with each student in order to find the variation that best serves their body. Work to find the balance of effort and ease in every posture, “sthira sukham asanam.” Yoga is accessible to all.

*IRY offers regularly scheduled vinyasa and yin-based classes on, Sat., Sun. (Yin-Yoga) and Wed. mornings as well as Tues. and Thurs. evening classes.

*Christi teaches adult, family, kids yoga and private lessons. Contact her for more info. on how to share the benefits of yoga to your kids and family.

*Christi uses Young Living Oils at the studio to enhance yoga class, meditation and for a more natural and healthy environment for her family and in the studio.  Visit to learn more.
*Go to to see the full yoga schedule, instructors and for private lessons.

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