Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana

The spine moves in six directions - flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation (twisting). Moving the spine through these different directions increases flexibility in and circulation to the spine, also encouraging better posture. Aside from the spinal benefits, twists also stimulate the internal organs - the liver, spleen, kidneys for example, as well as the entire digestive system by ‘wringing out’ - squeezing and then releasing to get rid of toxins and bring in fresh blood and fluids.

To come into the posture, sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, perhaps with the buttocks supported on a folded blanket. Place your feet on the floor, then slide your left foot under your right leg. Step the right foot over the left leg. The right knee will point directly up.

Exhale and twist toward the inside of the right thigh. Press the right hand against the floor to encourage a long spine. Finally, seal the pose by wrapping your left upper arm on the outside of your right knee.

You can turn your head to the left to bring the twist high into the cervical vertebrae, or if your neck is sensitive, keep the gaze straight ahead.

With every inhalation lift a little more through the upper body. Twist a little more with every exhalation. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release with an exhalation, return to the starting position. Repeat to the left for the same length of time.

Body Focus

Upper back


Twists can help relieve sciatica, open the shoulders, hips, and neck and energize the body. Other benefits include relief from menstrual discomfort, fatigue and backache. The alternate compression and stretch of the chest and lungs can also bring relief from asthma and other breathing difficulties.

Take Note

If you have a back or spine injury, perform this pose only with the supervision of an experienced instructor.


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