What is Ardha Matsyendrasana?

Ardha Matsyendrasana is a seated twist asana that’s amongst one of the twelve basic Hatha Yoga poses. Also known as Half Lord of the Fishes or Sitting Half Spinal Twist, it is a beginner level pose. Before we understand the steps and benefits of this asana, it is important to know the Ardha Matsyendrasana meaning. 

Ardha Matsyendrasana meaning comes from the Sanskrit terms ‘Ardha’ meaning ‘half’, ‘matsya’ meaning ‘fish’, ‘indra’ meaning ‘king’, and ‘asana’ meaning ‘pose’.

Who can do Ardha Matsyendrasana?

When modified according to their age and flexibility levels, the Ardha Matsyendrasana pose can be easily done by:

  • Seniors
  • Children 
  • People who want to cure lower back problems.
  • Those who want to improve their digestion.
  • People who want to lose weight.
  • People who want to strengthen their bodies.
  • Those who want to improve their sleep patterns.

Who should avoid Ardha Matsyendrasana?

In case you suffer from any of these conditions, you should not do the Ardha Matsyendrasana procedure without talking to your doctor:

  • Severe back, legs, shoulder, or neck pain.
  • Slip disc
  • Pregnancy
  • Abdominal problems
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Hernia

How is Ardha Matsyendrasana done?

Just like any other yoga asana, the procedure of Ardha Matsyendrasana also needs to be followed carefully. This is essential for preventing injuries and gaining the benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana.

Follow these steps of Ardha Matsyendrasana pose:

  1. Start Ardha Matsyendrasana by sitting in Dandasana. Your legs must be stretched in front.
  2. Flex your right knee and place your right foot outside the left knee.
  3. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot around the right hip.
  4. Inhale deeply and raise your left arm as you twist your torso. Pass the left arm around the outer edge of your right knee.
  5. Hold your right foot with the left hand so that your right knee is closer to your left armpit.
  6. Inhale deeply and while keeping your back straight, raise your right arm in the front and gaze ahead. 
  7. Exhale and continue twisting towards the right. 
  8. Fix your gaze towards the right and look past your right shoulder.
  9. Hold the pose for 30-40 seconds.
  10. Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side.

What are the variations of Ardha Matsyendrasana?

There are several variations of Half Lord of the Fishes Pose that can make your practice advanced or easier. Here are some variations for you to try:

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1:

This Ardha Matsyendrasana yoga pose is an easier variation of the traditional asana. This is for people who have knee or problems and cannot bend them. In this, you need to keep your left leg extended ahead and bend your right knee to place the right foot next to your left knee. Place your right hand behind yourself and raise your left hand. Gaze backwards. Hold the pose for 30-40 seconds and repeat on the other side.

‍Ardha Matsyendrasana 2:

This is also an easier variation of the traditional procedure of Ardha Matsyendrasana. In this variation, you need to keep your bent leg over the other leg and place your foot outside the opposite knee. Your left arm must be drawn backwards and wrapped around the waist. It should grab your right shin or ankle. Hold the toe or sole of the left foot using your right hand.

What are the benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana?

The benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana are not just limited to your body. This asana keeps your brain also healthy and active. 

Here is a roundup of some of those benefits:

  1. Ardha Matsyendrasana is very beneficial for making your upper body, including your shoulders, arms, and chest muscles, stronger. 
  2. One of the most important Half Lord of the Fishes Pose benefits is that it makes your spine stronger and more flexible. This is especially important for people who sit for long hours. It helps prevent lower back pain, stiffness, and tension and helps you get a good posture naturally.
  3. Since during the Ardha Matsyendrasana procedure, you also twist your legs, it makes your ankles, calves, hamstrings, and knee more supple and flexible. This also prevents and cures joint pain, stiffness, and spasms.
  4. Ardha Matsyendrasana steps and benefits improve your circulation. This improved circulation keeps your organs functioning optimally, enhances your immunity, and helps heal wounds faster.
  5. This enhanced circulation keeps your brain sharp and clear. It also reduces stress and anxiety and prevents age-related neurodegenerative disorders.
  6. Ardha Matsyendrasana steps and benefits also include massaging your internal organs such as the liver, spleen, and kidneys. This keeps them diseases free and balances your hormones.
  7. By stimulating and strengthening your digestive organs, Ardha Matsyendrasana yoga pose helps prevent digestive problems such as constipation and indigestion.
  8. Ardha Matsyendrasana is very beneficial for opening your chest muscles and preventing cardiovascular disorders.
  9. Half Lord of the Fish Pose benefits people who suffer from respiratory problems. It helps prevent and manage conditions such as COPD and asthma.
  10. The procedure of Ardha Matsyendrasana can be done with minimal setup without investment in equipment or studio space. This makes it a great addition to your home workouts.

What are some Ardha Matsyendrasana precautions?

Being a stretching pose, you need to be mindful of Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits and precautions to prevent injuries and muscle strain. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Never start doing Ardha Matsyendrasana steps and benefits on your own. Learn them from an experienced yoga practitioner or by joining online yoga classes
  2. Don’t do this asana in a hurry and don’t give yourself unrealistic targets, especially while doing yoga for beginners
  3. One of the most important Ardha Matsyendrasana precautions is that you need to do it on an empty stomach or at least four hours after a meal. 


This is a very effective asana that has a long-lasting impact on your health provided you follow Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits and precautions. The key to gaining these benefits is to be consistent with your practice and make healthy lifestyle choices. 

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January 31, 2022

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