Arda means (half), Matsya means (fish), and Indra means (lord)
The seated twist posture Ardha matsyendrasana is the ninth of Hatha yoga’s 12 fundamental poses. This asana’s name comes from the Sanskrit words ardha, which means “half,” matsya, which means “fish,” Indra, which means “king,” and asana, which means “pose.”
What is the Meaning of Ardha Matsyendrasana?
The asana starts with the dandasana to get into the pose (staff pose). The left foot is twisted and lies on the right thigh’s outside. The right foot slips as nearly to the left buttock as possible. A twist in the body is created by placing the right elbow on the outside side of the left knee with the hand pointing upward. On the other hand, do the same thing.
In English, Ardha matsyendrasana is known as the half lord of the fish pose.
The medical benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana are many. It extends the spine and increases cervical endurance, tones the stomach organs, improves metabolism, and relieves back pain effectively. This asana is also beneficial for menstrual irregularities and urinary tract infections.
Ardha matsyendrasana has neurological effects such as relaxing the mind, improving the nervous system, and reducing stress. The manipura chakra (solar plexus), which determines self-esteem, willpower, and self-discipline, is stimulated by Ardha matsyendrasana. Activating this chakra boosts self-esteem and makes it easier to maintain control of one’s life.
Pose of the Half-Lord of the Fishes
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose/Seated Twist Pose, also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana in Sanskrit, helps to promote proper digestion while also enhancing postural and body sensitivity.
Step-by-Step Instructions for the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Place your buttocks on a folded blanket and sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your knees, place your feet on the floor, then slip your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip. Lay the outside of the left leg on the board. Step your right foot over your left leg and stand it outside your left hip on the concrete. The right knee should be pointing straight up to the ceiling.
Massages and strengthens your lower back when massaging your lower abdominal organs.
With your legs spread out in front of you, sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Bring your calf against your thigh by bending your left knee. Uplift your hips slightly up the mat and put your left foot under your buttocks and ensure that your foot is horizontal while your toes are pointing right. (Your left foot’s outside edge will be on the mat.) Now, let your left foot on the floor. (Imagine your buttocks as a tiny saucer and your feet as a teacup.) Place a blanket in between your seat and foot if your balance is too precarious or if your foot hurts.
Place your right foot beside your left thigh and cross your right leg over your left so that the outside of your right ankle is close to the outside of your left thigh. Your left knee and right foot should both point forward. Place your hands side by side, pushing down with your fingertips till you maintain balance. Place both hands on your right knee and push down with your hands and right foot until you feel stable.
Exhale and curl your right leg toward the inside. Set your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh near the knee and press your right hand against the floor just behind your right buttock. Pull the front torso and inner right thigh together as tightly as possible.
Wrap your left forearm around your right shinbone and swing your right arm behind your back, your left hand grabbing your right fingertips (or, if possible, your right wrist with your left hand). The closer and more lightweight the clasp is, the more lift and mobility your torso and inner body can experience.
On an inhalation, raise your trunk, roll your shoulders back, and open your chest. Turn your head and look behind one of your shoulders. (A more full spinal rotation is needed while looking over your right shoulder.) Maintaining a firm hand grip is critical for maintaining balance. Raise and extend your chest by keeping an upward stretch across your hips and side waist. Hold for 20–30 minutes and then reverse the process by releasing the clasp, slowly unwinding, and repeating on the other side.
Release the right groyne and lengthen the front torso by pressing the inner right foot firmly into the floor. Continue to lengthen the tailbone into the floor by leaning the upper body back slightly against the shoulder blades.
Take a deep breath out and stretch your left arm and shoulder forward. As if the lower-left corner of your abdomen were heading to the outside of your right thigh, your left abdomen should turn from left to right. Your torso should follow your arm like a river, just like in Parivrtta Trikonasana. Make your left upper arm heavy by sharply pulling your left elbow down, and close the distance between the back of your left armpit and your right thigh once you’ve rotated your trunk as far as you’re relaxed. Continue to stretch your left arm and hold it on your outer right thigh, internally rotating your arm so that your palm is facing up.
Turn your head in one of two directions: then proceed with the twist of the torso turning right, or you can do the opposite by twisting the torso to the left and look over the left side of the shoulder at the right foot.
Wrap your left forearm around your right shinbone and swing your right arm behind your back, your left hand grabbing your right fingertips (or, if possible, your right wrist with your left hand). The closer and more lightweight the clasp is, the more lift and mobility your torso and inner body can experience. Raise your trunk, roll your shoulders back, and stretch your chest as you inhale. Turn your head and look behind one of your shoulders. (A more full spinal rotation is needed while looking over your right shoulder.) Maintaining a firm hand grip is critical for maintaining balance. Raise and extend your chest by keeping an upward stretch across your hips and side waist. Stay for at least 20–30 seconds.
In the final phase, you have to lift from the sternum a little bit with each inhalation, pushing your fingertips over the floor for support. With each exhalation, twist a little more. Make sure the twist is uniformly distributed over the entire length of the spine, rather than concentrating it in the lower back. Hold for 30 sec to 1 minute, then exhale and go back to the starting position before going back to the left for the similar period.
Contraindications and Cautionary Statements
If you are suffering from a back or spine injury, you can do this pose only under the guidance of an experienced trainer.
Props and Modifications
Getting the torso tight against the inner thigh can be difficult at first. With your back to the wall, keep a foot’s distance or so away from a wall; a proper distance can be the length of your arms. Reach out for the wall as you exhale into the twist. Your arm should be almost but not quite stretched (be careful not to sit too close to the wall, as this can cause shoulder pain). Leaning against the thigh with your front torso, try to push the wall away.
Go to a wall if wrapping, stretching, and binding your arms around your bent leg isn’t possible. Sit with your right leg parallel to the wall and outstretched. Sit on your left foot when bending your left knee. (A blanket may also be placed between your buttocks and foot.) Place your right foot at the outer edge of your left leg, bending your right knee. Exhale and bring the left side of your trunk toward your right thigh, turning your trunk to the right. Fix the left upper arm against the right leg’s outer side. Place your palms on the wall with your elbows bent. Raise your inner body and pull your hands down the wall.
Deepen Your Stance
If your hips and spine are flexible, you can easily push the upper left arm to the outer end of the upper right thigh. Exhale and turn to the right with your legs in place. Bend the left elbow and press it against the outside of the upper right leg, leaning back slightly away from the upper thigh. Then, pressing the back of the shoulder against the knee, pull the torso against the thigh and work the left upper arm farther on to the outer leg. Maintain a bent elbow and a lifted hand toward the ceiling. Raise the front torso through the top sternum and move forward into a slight upper-back backbend, firming the shoulder blades against your back.
At the End
Work the opposite-side elbow to the outside of the upper thigh with the assistance of a partner. Turn to the right after putting your legs in the position mentioned above. Place your partner to your right, about a foot away and facing you. Extend your left arm in front of you, rubbing the back of your arm against the top of your right thigh. Your partner should hold your wrist and press his or her feet against the outside of your right thigh at the same time.Your partner will gently pull the left side of your torso out of the inner left groyne as you move the back arm farther along and tuck your left side more fully against the top thigh by gently pushing with the feet and pulling with the hands. Remember that your partner is assisting you in lengthening and extending, not forcing you into a deeper twist.
Well, following the steps properly, you can easily practice this yogasana for your health benefits. Unlike other yoga poses, this is not something quite complicated but you can practice it without any hurdles or body pain.