Matsyendrasana

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Ardha Matsyendrasana I, a commonly practised half form of the pose

Matsyendrasana (Sanskrit: मत्स्येन्द्रासन; IAST: Matsyendrāsana), Matsyendra's Pose or Lord of the Fishes Pose, is a seated twisting asana in hatha yoga. The full form is the difficult Paripurna Matsyendrasana. A common and easier variant is Ardha Matsyendrasana.[1][2] The asana usually appears as a seated spinal twist with many variations, and in its half form is one of the twelve basic asanas in many systems of hatha yoga.[3]

Etymology and origins[edit]

Historic halftone engraving of the pose from the cover of Yoga Sopana, 1905, the first modern illustrated book on yoga[4]

The name comes from the Sanskrit words परिपूर्ण Paripurna, perfected; मत्स्येन्द् Matsyendra, one of the founders of hatha yoga, whose name in turn means "lord of the fishes"; and आसन asana, posture or seat;[5] अर्ध ardha means half.[6][7][8][9]

The asana is medieval, described in the 15th century Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā 1.26-7, which states that it destroys many diseases,[10] and the 17th century Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā 2.22-23.

Yogi Ghamande chose the asana for the cover of his historic 1905 book Yogasopana Purvacatuska; he represented the pose using a halftone plate, giving for the first time a realistic impression of the body of the yogi.[11][4][12]

Description[edit]

One foot is placed flat on the floor outside the opposite leg and torso twists toward the top leg. The bottom leg may be bent with the foot outside the opposite hip or extended with toes vertically. The arms help leverage the torso into the twist and may be bound (Baddha Ardha Matsyendrasana) in a number of configurations by clutching either feet or opposite hands.[13]

Variations[edit]

Ardha Matsyendrasana I[edit]

In this pose, sit with one leg bent on the ground, the foot tucked in close to the body, and cross the other leg over across the body, the knee raised and bent, and the foot on the ground by the outside of the other leg. Twist the body and grasp the raised knee; or, bring the arm over to press against the raised knee; or clasp the hands behind the back.[13]

Ardha Matsyendrasana III[edit]

From Ardha Matsyendrasana I, the bottom leg moves into Padmasana and arms bind by grabbing either foot.[13]

Supta Matsyendrasana[edit]

For the reclining variant of the pose, starting from a supine position, stretch the arms out at shoulder level, bend one knee and rotate it and the hips across to the opposite side.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Half Lord of the Fishes Pose". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  2. ^ "Yoga poses, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Half Spinal Twist:". Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  3. ^ "The Half Spinal Twist - Ardha-Matsyendrasana". Hatha Yoga. Advaita Yoga Ashrama. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  4. ^ a b Greenberg, Stephen J. (27 November 2013). "NLM Visits the Sackler". US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  5. ^ Long, Ray (2011). Yoga Mat Companion 3: Anatomy for Backbends and Twists. Greenleaf. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-60743-944-8.
  6. ^ "Half Lord of the Fishes Pose". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Yoga poses, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Half Spinal Twist:". Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  8. ^ Iyengar 1979, p. 273.
  9. ^ Maehle, Gregor; Gauci, Monica (November 2009). Ashtanga Yoga - The Intermediate Series: Mythology, Anatomy, and Practice. New World Library. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-57731-669-5.
  10. ^ Mallinson, James; Singleton, Mark (2017). Roots of Yoga. Penguin Books. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-241-25304-5. OCLC 928480104.
  11. ^ Ghamande 1905.
  12. ^ Singleton 2010, pp. 170-174.
  13. ^ a b c Iyengar 1979, pp. 259–262, 270-273.
  14. ^ "Supine Spinal Twist | Supta Matsyendrasana". Yoga Basics. Retrieved 5 February 2019.

Sources[edit]