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Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana

HP_214_ArdhaMatsyendrasana_248.jpg

(ARE-dah MOT-see-en-DRAHS-anna)
ardha = half
Matsyendra = king of the fish (matsya = fish
indra = ruler), a legendary teacher of yoga

Step by Step

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, buttocks supported on a folded blanket. Bend your knees, put your feet on the floor, then slide your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip. Lay the outside of the left leg on the floor. Step the right foot over the left leg and stand it on the floor outside your left hip. The right knee will point directly up at the ceiling.

Exhale and twist toward the inside of the right thigh. Press the right hand against the floor just behind your right buttock, and set your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh near the knee. Pull your front torso and inner right thigh snugly together.

Press the inner right foot very actively into the floor, release the right groin, and lengthen the front torso. Lean the upper torso back slightly, against the shoulder blades, and continue to lengthen the tailbone into the floor.

You can turn your head in one of two directions: Continue the twist of the torso by turning it to the right; or counter the twist of the torso by turning it left and looking over the left shoulder at the right foot.

With every inhalation lift a little more through the sternum, pushing the fingers against the floor to help. Twist a little more with every exhalation. Be sure to distribute the twist evenly throughout the entire length of the spine; don't concentrate it in the lower back. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release with an exhalation, return to the starting position, and repeat to the left for the same length of time.

Watch a video demonstration of this pose.


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Reader Comments

AG

I am looking for Matsyendrasana. Your site shows ardha matsyendrasana (half spinal twist) but i could not find the full pose, do you have it?

lizz

I love this pose! Isn't it "fish" instead of "fishes?"

MaryEllen York

When you actually twist the spine it should not lengthen. It will actually shorten. To practice a lengthening in the spine during a twist is harmful to the body. It is like anything you twist or ring out, it will shorten, like a towel or wash rag when you ring it out. It is the natural movement of twisting. You may sit up tall and lengthen before you begin your twist but you shouldn't lengthen during the twist.

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