Ardha Matsyendrasana Pose and Its Benefits

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Ardha Matsyendrasana, also known as “Half Lord of the Fishes Pose,” is named after Matsyendranath, the great yogi who created Hatha Yoga.

The Sanskrit words “Ardha” means “half,” “Matsya” means “fish,” and “eendra” means “king.” The English name, “Half Lord of the Fishes Pose,” is derived from these words. It can also be called Half Spinal Twist Pose or Vakrasana (twist). This yoga pose is usually a spinal twist done while sitting, and it is one of the twelve basic yoga poses (asanas) in many Hatha Yoga systems.

In this yoga pose, the spine twists most at the upper back, where the thighs are crossed over each other. The torso twists with the help of the arms.


Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits the following muscles:

  • Arms and Shoulders
  • Hamstrings
  • Hips
  • Hips-Internal
  • Psoas
  • Lower Back
  • Middle Back
  • Core (Abs)
  • Gluteus


  • Lie on the ground with your legs straight ahead. While elevating the right leg slightly, positioning it near the right hip, and tucking it deeply below the right seated bone, bend the left knee and bring the left foot below the right thigh.
  • Bring the right leg close to your body, bend the right knee, cross the right foot over the left thigh, and place it near the outside of the left hip on the floor.
  • Inhale deeply and twist your upper body to the right. As you do this, bring your right hand and place it on the floor behind you. The hand should be placed near your lower back behind you, with the twist coming more from the inside of your right leg.
  • Grab the right foot with the left arm, keeping the outer elbow near the outside of the right knee. Put a tight grip on your inner right thigh and front torso.
  • Twist your body farther to the right when you have completely exhaled, and slowly place your right hand on your hips while holding onto the left side of your lower back.
  • The body should be twisted gently and slowly, ensuring the neck and shoulders are aligned. The chest, shoulders, and face are all perfectly aligned in this picture.
  • To assist you in twisting more deeply, lift your sternum slightly with each inhale. Do this by pressing your right fingers deeply into your left upper thighs.
    And with each exhale, twist a bit more.
  • Because keeping the body’s balance is the key to this pose, distribute it evenly.
    The twist is distributed uniformly over the length of the spine.
  • Check that both sit bones are on the ground to ensure that the body is properly balanced at the hips.
  • Hold this position for as long as you are comfortable, then release it, extend your legs in front of you, and rest.
  • To complete the pose, repeat it with the right leg bent and the left foot crossed and twisted to the left. Hold the position until long feels comfortable.
    Stretch your legs in front as you come out of the pose and unwind in Dandasana.


Modifications for Ardha Matsyendrasana:


  • Support from the blanket is helpful for beginners to get the torso twisted quickly.
  • Twist after bringing the bent knee to the chest with both hands.
    One can press the bent knee tightly by supporting it with both arms, gradually opening the hips and providing the posture with the desired appearance.
  • With your back to the wall, bring the body up against it. If the twist is to the right, place the right palm on the wall as you exhale, and while applying pressure to the wall, twist your upper body to the right. Do the same thing on the left side.


Contraindications to Ardha Matsyendrasana


  • Injury and Surgery: People with significant neck or back discomfort should practice with close supervision and caution. Those who have slipped disc issues must avoid this stance. This pose could be challenging and uncomfortable for those who have internal organ problems.
  • Body-breath connections are lacking: It’s crucial to coordinate your breathing with your body motions, such as different folds when doing intermediate poses. Lack of this coordination could result in various avoidable injuries, and practitioners might find it challenging to hold the posture for longer.
  • Others: Senior citizens with weak joints and pregnant women should avoid practicing this posture since it can press on the fetus


Ardha Matsyendrasana Benefits


  • Stretches, Strengthens and Lengthens: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose practice will give the back, hip, leg, and upper abdominal muscles the most flexibility. This stretching increases the muscles’ flexibility and gives them a toned appearance.
    This yoga pose is excellent for opening up the hips and can be practiced as a part of the hip opener series. Flexing the lower body in this position makes the hips stronger and more toned.
  • Flexibility and Range of Motion: Half Lord of the Fishes permits complete spinal rotation from the bottom of the spine to the top. The ligaments and nerves in the spine are toned. This improves the spine’s range of motion and promotes spine flexibility, preparing the practitioner for advanced-level poses.
  • Chest, Diaphragm, and Breath: In addition to opening the neck, shoulders, and chest, this position also twists the spine. The practitioner’s ability to breathe more deeply and effectively will improve as the upper torso and chest open up.
    Deeper breathing makes it simpler to maintain the position without being fatigued or out of breath.
  • Awareness and Focus: This pose encourages awareness of the breath, which helps the body move better. Breathing also helps to bring about this awareness of the breath.
    With each breath, your spine expands upward, and with each expiration, it twists downward and inward.
  • Alignment and Posture: Several folds are necessary to enter the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose.
    Every fold has a different significance. Consequently, they must be carried out precisely.
    The practitioner can adopt the proper posture with the aid of proper alignment. When the stance is executed correctly, it is simpler to maintain without suffering unnecessary injuries.
  • Energizing, De-stressing, and Relaxing: Twisting the spine in the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose will help loosen up the tight muscles in the lower back, upper back, shoulders, and muscles around the spine. The practitioner will feel at ease and refreshed once the stiffness in this area has been removed.
  • Stimulation and Organ Function: The abdominal muscles are massaged. Constipation can be cured by massaging the internal organs of the abdomen. The liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, and spleen are just a few internal organs that are stimulated and purified. The twist aids in the removal of toxins and extra heat from tissues and organs. This pose can be used to relieve the symptoms of sciatica, back pain, fatigue, and menstrual discomfort.
  • Treatment, Recovery, and Illnesses: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is an asymmetrical pose that emphasizes balance and emotions.Asymmetrical poses are good for bringing equilibrium to the body. The body typically has one side that is stiffer than the other. Thus, by easing stiffness, practicing asymmetrical poses aids in restoring equilibrium to the body. Additionally, this pose promotes good body alignment, and inner calm and treats nervous problems.
  • Others: The Ardha Matsyendrasana can aid women who experience issues with their menstrual cycle because the twist keeps the reproductive organs active and releases excess energy.
    This helps keep hormones balanced, so those with menopausal or perimenopausal symptoms can also gain from it.


    1. What are the beginner’s tips for Ardha matsyendrasana?

A blanket placed beneath the buttocks might provide support for a novice. Some professionals advise sitting with the back against a wall. But it needs good management. When you are doing this yourself, it is not advised.

  1. What are the common mistakes to be careful about while doing this pose?
  • Hips are still raised off the ground
  • The torso tilts backward
  • The right leg’s ankle and toes are not being held in place by the left hand
  • The left leg’s knee elevated off the ground
  • The chin is not parallel to the floor and is pointed too high
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