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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 an 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]


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;[4] अर्ध ardha means half.[5][6][7][8]


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.


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.[9]

Ardha Matsyendrasana III[edit]

From Ardha Matsyendrasana I, the bottom leg moves into Padmasana (Lotus Position) and arms bind by grabbing either foot.[9]


Ardha Matsyendrāsana allows the spine to be twisted all the way from the base of the spine to the very top. This asana is said to tone the spinal nerves and ligaments, and improves digestion and also improve liver and pancreas health[10] The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that it increases appetite, destroys diseases, and rouses kundalini in the body.[7]

See also[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. ^ Long, Ray (2011). Yoga Mat Companion 3: Anatomy for Backbends and Twists. Greenleaf. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-60743-944-8.
  5. ^ "Half Lord of the Fishes Pose". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Yoga poses, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Half Spinal Twist:". Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  7. ^ a b Iyengar 1979, p. 273.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b Iyengar, B. K. S. (1979). Light on Yoga (Revised ed.). New York: Schocken Books. pp. 259–262, 270–273. ISBN 978-0-8052-0610-4.
  10. ^ Yogeswar (1980). Textbook of yoga. Yoga Centre. p. 161.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]