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Half Spinal Twist Pose

Literally translated as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, this asana is named after the Yogi, Matsyendranath.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Spinal Twist Pose with Bakul

Ardha Matsyendrasana Spinal Twist Pose with Bakul

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1. Sit in Dandasana, bend your right knee putting the foot on the floor, with the heel as close to the right sitting bone as possible. Keep the left leg strong, foot rotated slightly inward, toes pulled back.
2.  Inhaling raise the left arm up, keep lengthening through the spine, as if there is a string pulling you up from the top of your head.
3. We now have three options, choose which one is right for you.
a) Exhaling, place your right hand on the floor in line with the tailbone, (the closer you bring your hand the straghter your spine will be). Bring the left hand to the right knee and pull it accross your body working on twisting your shoulders and torso, while keeping the spine long. look over your right shoulder and open the chest as you twist.
b) Exhaling, place your right hand onto the floor just behind your tail bone (bring the hand a little further away if this is not possible). Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right knee keeping the hand in the air. Use your elbow to pull yourself deeper into the twist. Remember to keep the spine long and the shoulders open. Gazing over your right shoulder
c) With an exhalation, rotate your torso to the right and wrap your left arm around the right thigh, with the armpit as close to the knee as possible, and bring the right arm around the back. Try to bind holding the fingers hands or wrists. Release the right hip toward the floor. Try to keep your shoulders level. (If you can almost reach in this posture you may use a belt to bind the hands) Gazing over your right shoulder.
4. Try to breathe as deeply as possible, holding the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5. Exhale release, reverse the legs and twist to the left for an equal length of time.

  1.  Spinal twisting engages the sweat glands, helping to detoxify the body

  2.  Aids digestion (the twisting action promotes elimination and stimulates the abdominal organs)

  3.  Opens up and relieves tension from the shoulders (good for office workers or people with sedentary jobs)

  4.  Can be good for diabetics, as it stimulates the pancreas

  5.  Strengthens and stretches the spine

  6.  Stretches the intercostal's (muscles between the ribs) helping you to breathe more deeply

  7.  Can relieve menstrual discomforts


    In this posture your body can only do stomach breathing (stomach moves out during inhalation).

  1. Diarrhoea

  2. Serious back or spine injury

  3. High blood pressure

  4. Current Migraine/Headache

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