(Ardha Matsyendrasana): Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Level – Intermediate

Seated Spinal Twist/Half Lord of the Fishes

(Ardha Matsyendrasana)

 

Seated Spinal Twist/Half Lord of the Fishes Pose Prep & Practice

1

Begin seated on the floor and place the sole of your right foot to the outside of your left thigh. Option to keep the left leg straight or bent. If you choose to bend the left knee, then bring the left foot next to the right hip.

2

Breathe in, and lift the arms up high. Breathe out to hook the left elbow to the outside of the right knee.

 

3

Right fingertips come behind you. Use your core to twist to the right, without using your left elbow to force you into the twist. Look back behind you.

4

On each inhalation, find length in the spine. On each exhalation, twist a little deeper. Keep the right sole planted into the ground.

5

Gently untwist and unhook the elbow to come back to center.

 

6

Balance the body out by practicing on the other side.

 

 

Variations/Modifications

  • Sit on the edge of a blanket or bolster
  • Left elbows stays on the inside of the right knee, and left arm hugs the right leg 
  • Take an open twist toward the bent leg
  • Advanced: hands clasp for a bind under the knee

Physical, Mental, and Emotional Benefits

  • Tones the internal organs
  • Strengthens the obliques and back muscles
  • Brings length to the hip abductors
  • Balances chest and shoulder girdle muscles

Contraindications

  • Back injury
  • Sciatica
  • Pregnancy
  • Digestive issues

Thoughtful Sequencing

Easy Pose (Sukhasana), Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana), Rotated Head to Knee (Parivritta Janu Sirsasana) Right, Seated Spinal Twist/Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana) Right, Rotated Head to Knee (Parivritta Janu Sirsasana) Left, Seated Spinal Twist/Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana) Left, Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

 

 

 

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