Ardha Matsyendrāsana/ Half Spinal Twist is
named after the yogi, Matsyendranath, the Lord of the Fishes, a student of Lord
Siva and one of the founders of hatha yoga. The name in Sanskrit comes
from matsya, meaning fish, and indra, meaning king, lord. Ardha
comes from the Sanskrit meaning half and āsana meaning posture.
Here a twist is given to the spine increasing its flexibility, correcting scoliosis, and toning the spinal nerves and sympathetic nervous system. The twist of the body massages and stimulates the large intestine and liver, increasing gastric juices and relieving constipation.
Half Spinal Twist variation 1
Sitting upright with straight legs together, place the left foot flat on floor on outside of the right knee.
Bring left arm to floor behind the back. Raise right arm up.
Bring right arm over left side of left knee. Reach round to catch hold of left ankle. Turn head towards left side. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds. Release and repeat on the other side.
Half Spinal Twist variation 2
Sit up on the heels.
Drop the hips to the floor on the right side.
Place the left foot on the floor on the outside of the right knee. Bring the left arm to floor behind the back. Raise the right arm up.
Bring the right arm over the left side of the left knee. Reach round to catch hold of the left ankle. Turn the head towards the left side. Hold the position for minimum of 30 seconds. Release and repeat on the other side.
Half Spinal Twist common mistakes
The buttocks should not lift off the floor. The body should not lean onto the supporting arm. The shoulders should be of equal height. The arm should not hang freely.
How to do the Half Spinal TwistSivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
• Helps keep the spine elastic by retaining its side-to-side mobility. Each vertebra is rotated in both directions.
• The ligaments attached to the spine receive a rich supply of blood.
• This lateral stretching helps to relieve lumbago (general lower back pain) and muscular rheumatism of the back and hips. It also helps to dissolve adhesions in the joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
• The synovial fluid of the joints increases & the joints become more active.
• The roots of the spinal nerves & the sympathetic nervous system are toned and given a fresh supply of blood.
• Abdominal muscles are massaged. The large intestine in particular is stimulated.
• This helps to relieve constipation, dyspepsia (indigestion) and other digestive problems. Toxins in the digestive system are released.
• The Spinal Twist increases appetite and digestive powers by stimulating the gastric juices.
• There is a beneficial effect on the gall bladder, spleen, kidneys, liver and intestines.
Anyone learning these postures should only do so under the supervision of a competent teacher. The instructions shared as part of this exhibit are for reference and knowledge only. Anyone following these on their own, they do so at their own risk. Persons with health issues and or during pregnancy are advised to consult a medical expert before attempting any of the postures.
Demonstrators in the photographs: Kannan, Padmavati, Ananda, Eri, Asha, Shreyas, Rohit
Visit Sivananda Ashrams