Poses by Type

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose/Seated Twist Pose, called Ardha Matsyendrasana in Sanskrit, invites an energy in the spine that helps to stimulate proper digestion while improving postural and body awareness.

How to Say Ardha Matsyendrasana in Sanskrit

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

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose Step-by-Step Instructions

**NEED to add primary image – one in dropbox was incorrect**

  1. Begin seated with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs, right knee on top.
  2. Root down with your sitting bones to rebound up the length of your spine. 
  3. Imagine a central axis running through your torso from your pelvic floor to the crown of your head. 
  4. With each inhalation, emphasize both the length and the integrity of this axis; the column is straight and is not tilting or curving off to one side or another. 
  5. Keeping your left leg in its current position, place your right foot to the outside of your left knee. 
  6. Root down with your right big toe mound while simultaneously descending your right outer hip. 
  7. Inhale, and take your left arm to the ceiling. 
  8. Exhale, and hook your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Take your right hand to the floor outside of your right hip. 
  9. Notice how your right knee tends to buckle into your midline; instead, press it to the right to create more resistance for the left elbow to work against. 
  10. Inhale, finding more length along the central axis; exhale, and use that length to revolve deeper. 
  11. Repeat on the other side.


Half Lord of the Fishes Pose Cues

Contraindications and Cautions of Half Lord of the Fishes Pose Cues

  • Caution or modify if you have any knee pain, knee injuries, knee arthritis, knee replacement, or other knee limitations.
  • Caution or modify if you have hip pain, hip arthritis, or a hip replacement
  • Avoid or modify if you have acute back pain or injuries, including surgeries, osteoporosis, disc bulging or herniation, arthritis, or SI (sacroiliac) pain
  • Transition slowly in and out of the pose

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Benefits of Half Lord of the Fishes

  • Improves postural and body awareness
  • Improves posture and counteracts the effects of sitting and computer work
  • Can help stimulate proper digestion by facilitating movement through the digestive tract (peristalsis)
  • May help relieve constipation through the benefits of movement and stimulation of the lower abdominal area
  • Can help relieve bloating and gas
  • Strengthens your core and particularly muscles supporting your spine
  • Stretches around your back, outer thighs (abductors), buttocks (gluteals), and front of your thighs (quadriceps)

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3 Ways to Modify Half Lord of the Fishes 

1. Gentle Half Lord of the Fishes

Instead of bringing your elbow to your thigh, try simply wrapping your arm comfortably around you knee

2. Half Lord of the Fishes with Leg out

Try with your bottom leg extended rather than flexed

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3. Chair Half Lord of the Fishes

Try seated in a chair with your legs crossed

Twist toward the top leg

Focus on lengthening your spine, grabbing onto the side of the chair, armrest (if it has one), or back of the chair

Stay for several breaths and then repeat on the other side

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Preparatory Poses for Half Lord of the Fishes

Follow-up Poses After Half Lord of the Fishes


More Pose Detail

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