Named “ray of light” of the sun or moon, Marichi is the son of Brahma, the cosmic creator, and one of the seven or ten sages of creation in the Vedas. Before the creation began, Lord Brahma required consuls who could be held responsible for the creation of the remaining Universe. He therefore created 10 Prajapatis, “rulers of the people,” from his Manas, or “mind.” Marichi is one of these Manasaputras of Lord Brahma, a seer or lord of creation who may intuit and proclaim the divine law of the universe. The chief of the Maruts or the “shining ones,” Marichi is a radiant figure himself in the lineage of Hindu mythology – he grandfathered Surya, the sun god who is honored in Surya Namaskar and is the great-grandfather of Manu, meaning “mind, man, intelligence,” the Vedic father of humanity. To read about some of the legends associated with Marichi, click here.
All of the Marichyasanas are hip openers, postures that help us to soften the hip of the bent leg. A forward fold with an additional challenge, it prepares the hips for Kurmasana in the Primary Series and the Eka Pada postures in the Intermediate Series. With our hands bound in Marichyasana A, we practice folding without the use our arms to pull ourselves forward. In this asana, we are inhibited by both our bent knee and the inability to use our arms. Marichyasana A must thus be performed solely by the hip flexors. With the hip of the bent leg lifted up, this posture allows us to find the pelvic tilt necessary to fold forward without pulling our arms and straining our shoulders and neck.
When we practice the Marichyasana series and Marichyasana A in particular, we are thus afforded an opportunity to imaginatively embody some of Marichi’s most notable characteristics: a ray of light that may intuitively see the dharma, an incandescence from which our human intelligence is mythologically descended.