Ardha Matsyendrasana, translates to Half Lord of the Fishes Pose. If that explanation still leaves you confused, this posture is simply a yogic seated twist! Ardha Matsyendrasana is a fabulous posture to practice after a long day of sitting at your desk, driving or traveling. It energizes the body and spine, increases flexibility, massages and detoxifies the organs of digestion like the kidneys, liver, spleen, stomach, small and large intestines, opens the shoulders and neck, tones the abdomen and aids in the elimination of waste from the body.
Ardha Matsyendrasana & the 3 Doshas:
Vata- For people that are vata predominant or experiencing a vata imbalance, Ardha Matsyendrasana is a wonderful posture to practice in order to restore the downward flow of apana vayu, the subdosha of vata located in the large intestine. Thus, if you are suffering from constipation, this seated posture can make an excellent addition to your practice. Also, because this twist is done on the floor, it brings a grounded and steady energy into the body which is beneficial in calming the mobile and variable qualities that are associated with vata dosha.
Pitta- For people that are pitta predominant or experiencing a pitta imbalance, Half Lord of the Fishes Pose assists in expelling excess heat out of the digestive organs through its twisting action. This helps to regulate jatharagni, or the digestive fire, that can become easily overheated for pitta types. When heat is reduced in the digestive tract, tension can begin to soften within the body and mind.
Kapha- For people that are kapha predominant or experiencing excess kapha dosha, twisting postures like Ardha Matsyendrasana are an effective way to reduce stagnation and congestion that can build up in the spine, digestive system and mind. This twist will energize and lighten the heavy, moist and dense qualities of kapha dosha.
How to Do Ardha Matsyendrasana:
- Begin seated on your yoga mat, with your legs stretched out in front of you, with a tall spine.
- Bend both knees and keep your feet on the floor.
- Externally rotate your left hip and slide your left foot under your right leg.
- Hold onto your right shin with both hands and place your right foot to the outside of your left knee, so your right leg is over the left leg with the right knee facing up towards the ceiling.
- Exhale as you twist towards the inside of your right thigh and place your right hand next to your right hip.
- Inhale and stretch the left arm up towards the ceiling and look up towards your left fingertips.
- Exhale to deepen the twisting action through your thoracic spine and bend the left elbow, placing it towards the outside of your right knee.
- The left arm and right knee now become your support as you continue to breathe and exhale into the twisting action of the posture.
- Bring your gaze beyond the right shoulder to stretch the neck.
- Throughout the posture, keep both buttocks rooted to the floor.
- Take 5-10 breaths here.
- Then, with an exhale, release the twist and return to a neutral position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- It is best to learn any yoga posture, including Ardha Matsyendrasana, under the supervision of a live Yoga teacher. This way, the teacher can help correct alignment which will decrease the chances of you developing faulty or harmful habits in your Yoga practice.
- Please consult a physician before you begin any exercise practice, including Yoga.
Contraindications for Ardha Matsyendrasana:
- shoulder injury
- neck injury
- spinal injury or intense spinal pain
- slipped disc