Ardha Matsyendrasana

The Half Spinal Twist

He Asana takes it Sanskrit name from the great sage Matsyendra, one of the first teachers of Hatha Yoga. After the forward and backward bending of the spine, the Half Spinal Twist gives a lateral stretch to vertebrae, back muscles and hips.

How to do Ardha Matsyendrasana

To begin:
Child’s Pose

Sit on the heels. Drop the forehead to the ground. Relax in the position with hands on the ground next to the feet, palms facing upward.

Beginners’ Variation:
With one straight leg
Coming into the position

  1. Sit upright with legs together straight out in front of the body.
  2. Bend the left knee; put the left foot flat on the floor on the outer side of the right leg.
  3. Bring the left arm to the floor behind the back. Raise the right arm up.
  4. Bring the right arm over the left side of the left knee. Catch hold of the left ankle. Look the position for at least 30 seconds. Release and repeat on the other side.

Coming into position

  1. Sit up on the heels.
  2. Drop the hips on the floor on the right of the hips.
  3. Place the left foot flat on the floor on the outside of the right knee.
  4. Bring the right arm over the left side of the left knee. Reach around to catch hold of the left ankle.
  5. Bring the right arm over the left side of the left knee. Reach around to catch hold of the left ankle.
  6. Turn your head towards left side.

Beginners may hold the pose for at least 30 seconds, working up to minute. Release the position and repeat on the other side.

Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana

Physical benefits

  • The Half Spinal Twist helps to keep the spine elastic by retaining its side to side mobility. Each vertebra is rotated in both directions.
  • The ligaments attached to the spine get this movement as well and so receive a rich supply of blood.
  • This lateral stretching helps to relieve lumbago and muscular rheumatism of the back and hips. Adhesions in the joints caused by rheumatism are removed.
  • The synovial fluid of the joints increase and the joints become very active.
  • The roots of the spinal nerves and the sympathetic nervous system are toned and given a fresh supply of blood. This has the effect of
  • Increasing the heart rate and force of contraction.
  • Stimulating glucose release from the liver.
  • Stimulating the sweat glands (cleansing effect on the body)
  • Circulation is speeded up. There is aerobic effect on the body.
  • Breathing becomes more rapid.
  • Abdominal muscles are massaged. The large intestine in particular is stimulated.
  • This helps to relieve constipation, dyspepsia and other digestive problems. Toxins in the digestive system are released.
  • The Half Spinal Twist increases appetite and digestive powers by fanning the gastric juices.
  • There is a beneficial effect on the gall bladder, spleen, kidneys, liver and bowels.

Mental Benefits

  • This Asana helps to cure nervous disorders.
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana helps to bring peace of mind.

Psychic Benefits

  • The Half Spinal Twist augments the Prana Shakti (vigour and vitality), consequently removing innumerable diseases.
  • It rouses the
  • It makes the “moon ” steady.

Common Mistakes

  1. Buttocks are lifted off the ground.
  2. The body is leaning instead of being twisted. This compresses the spine rather than giving it a lateral twist.
  3. One shoulder is dropped.
  4. The arm is allowed to hang freely rather than clasping hold of the opposite ankle.