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Yoga Pose – Ardha Matsyendrasana

In my article on Tadasana, I’ve explained few common instructions applicable to all the asanas.

Matsya in Sanskrit means fish. Relating to this asana, it is the posture that you are going to achieve—the Half Spinal Twist yoga pose. The body assumes the wriggling state of the fish.  This asana is attributed to a renowned Yogi, Matsyendranath, and the founder of stream of Hatha yogis known as the Nath Sampradaya. (Nath tradition)

Method / Technique for Ardha Matsyendrasana

  1. This is a half-hip twist posture that has a telling effect on the spine, as it gets rotated around the axis.  It involves double twists, the arms and the knees being the levers employed to achieve these extreme twists.
  2. Sit erect with legs stretched outwards. Place the heel in the perineum.
  3. Keep the right thigh straight and place the left foot on the ground.
  4. Cross the right knee and ensure that the left knee rests close to the right side of the right knee.
  5. Let your right arm pass over the left side of the left knee.
  6. Move the right arm with the left calf and hold the left toe with the right thumb, index and middle fingers.
  7. Move your left hand across the lower portion of the hip and hold the right thigh root.
  8. Take a slow turn towards the left side of the trunk. In tandem with this movement, turn around the shoulders, neck and head towards the left.
  9. Get the chin in line with the left shoulder and view behind to the farthest extent possible.
  10. Ensure that your head and spine are erect. Stay in this position for the duration of your comfort level.
  11. Make slow movements to revert to the position from which you began the asana.
  12. Adopt the same procedure for the other side.

Physical/therapeutic benefits of Half Spinal Twist

  1. The impacts of the movements described above are on the spinal column, particularly the lumbar vertebrae, which will become supple.
  2. With twisting of the spine, every movable vertebra is rotated in its socket.
  3. Cleanses and rejuvenates the body. The internal organs receive an intense massage, the toxins are squeezed out; digestion and blood circulation improves. Pelvic region and hips get adequate blood supply. Since the secretion of adrenaline and bile is affected beneficially, this asana is recommended for the patients of diabetes, hay fever, constipation, sinusitis; good results are achieved in menstrual disorders and urinary tract disorders. This is one such complicated asana, which needs to be practiced under the supervision of a yoga therapist, until one achieves perfection.

Spiritual benefits

  1. Some try to establish the emotional connectivity to this asana posture. The steps of the asana and its final achievement are compared to the disciplined count of solving the knotty issues that one faces in life. The importance of the twisting asanas is they rejuvenate an individual physically and mentally.
  2. Twisting asanas also symbolically mean the twists and turns that one faces in life. Many twisting asanas, including the asana under discussion, are named after the sages. The suggestive meaning is how the sages are able to tackle the pair of opposites and achieve a balanced perspective of life. They are always on the correct side of the wisdom and Ajana Chakra.
  3. Since the beneficially affected organs correspond to the area where Manipura Chakra influences, the net result is improvement of the vitality and health of the entire body. Twist also assists the free flow of prana through the important nadis of Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. The process of kundalini awakening is strengthened and accelerated.


  1. Since several important parts of the body like neck, shoulders and hips participate in the execution of this asana, the patients of backache and sciatica can expect improvement in their condition. But this asana needs to be practiced with utmost caution, as a wrong twist may have painful impact on the nervous system of the body.
  2. Barred for pregnant t women, patients suffering from peptic ulcer and hernia.
  3. Four rounds of the asana are fine; more depends upon your comfort level.


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