Ardha Matsyendrasana

Introduction 

Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist is of the basic asana or yoga posture out of the twelve given yoga posture of hatha yoga. Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist is particularly beneficial to the spine since this posture provides a lateral twist to the spine in both – to the right and to the left directions. Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist also helps in effective blood circulation and is an excellent stress reliever. Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist is a sitting yoga posture.

How to Perform Ardha-Matsyendrasana

To perform Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist one should follow the below mentioned points:

  1. Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist begins with the normal sitting posture.

  2. Bend your left leg inside such that you bring your left foot under your right leg thighs. Keep the thighs open such that it faces towards the sky.

  3. Make sure that you are not sitting on your left leg heels but on your sit bones.

  4. Raise your right leg and bend it inside at the knee joint such that it looks like a raised mountain peak with your foot resting on the floor.

  5. Bring your right leg over the left leg ( keeping the left leg in the position mentioned in point no. 2 and keeping the right leg in position mentioned in point no. 4) such that the foot is on the right side of the left leg i.e. behind the left leg.

  6. Make sure that you are sitting on your sit bones (bottom) and not on your left ankle or left heels.

  7. Keep the bent right leg closer to your body (chest and stomach). The closer the right leg is to your body, the more difficult this posture will become.

  8. Bring your right hand behind you and rest it on the floor towards the left.

  9. Keep your body and head straight. Make sure that your body weight is on your spine and not on your hands.

  10. Inhale and keep your left hand on your right foot with your palms wrapped on your foot.

  11. Stretch your spine while inhaling

  12. Exhale and turn the body to the right bringing the head looking over the right shoulder. Make sure to keep your spine straight and weight of the body on the spine rather than on the hands. Your shoulders should stay parallel to the floor.

  13. With every exhale try to twist your body a little more towards your right.

  14. Try this posture for two to three minutes ( 30 seconds for the beginners)

To return back to normal posture, inhale and free your left hand and right hand and then slowly bring your right leg in a stretched out position and do the same with your left leg. 

Once done, you can repeat the steps mentioned above for twisting the spine to the opposite direction.

However, please remember the following points while performing Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist:

  1. You can try different hands position with this yoga posture as per your conform. The basic aim is to twist the spine to strengthen it.

  2. Never put extra pressure on your hips, shoulders and legs. Do not put yourself on stress and do it only for the time period you are comfortable with even if you can hold the position even for ten seconds.

Benefits of Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the Half Spinal Twist

Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist Increases the flexibility in each vertebrae of the spine, from the base of the spine through the neck and stretches the back muscles and hips. Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist also helps in massaging stomach and reduce constipation. Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist brings more blood supply to the spine and hips. Apart from the benefits mentioned herein, Ardha-Matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist also helps in bringing peace of mind.