Ardha Matsyendrasana (The Half-twist posture)
Ardha means half, Matsyendra is a yogi. Yogi Matsyendranath attained the highest state of
Yoga in this posture. The body takes the position of the Half –of Yogi Matsyendranath’s Description
Sthiti: Sit erect with legs stretched, heels together, palms pressing on the floor by the side of the buttocks.
- Fold the right knee and place the heel tight against the perineum.
- Place the left foot by the side of the right thigh near the knee.
- Bring the right hand round the outer side of the left knee passing between the chest and the knee and catch hold of the left big toe. The right shoulder blade rests on the outer side of the left knee.
- Now take the left hand round the back and try to catch the right thigh. Look back over the left shoulder,(the erect knee acts as a fulcrum for getting a maximum twist of the spine). Keep the trunk vertical.
- Release the left hand come back to 3rd position.
- Slowly release the right hand over the outer side of the left knee; come back to 2nd position.
- Unfold the left leg; come back to sthiti.
- Unfold the right leg, then come back to sthiti.
Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana(The Half-twist posture):
- Twists, tones, stretches, the entire spine Enhances lower back’s flexibility.
- Maintains the health of the spinal nerves.
- Massages the spleen, liver, pancreas intestines and bladder.
- Activates the gonads. Enhances secretion of pancreatic juice and adrenalin.
- Good for constipation, dyspepsia, diabetes, kidney problems, enlarged and congested liver and spleen, rheumatism of back muscles.
- Pain in hip joints, obesity and gastritis.
- Reduces girth in the abdomen.
- Removes laziness and helps to attain the state of Yogi Matsyendra.
Mode of Bending: Do not sit on the heels.
Mode of breathing:
Breathe out whenever you bend downward, twist and inhale while coming up. Normal breathing in the final position.
Precautions and contraindications.
Now that you know how to do half the torso of the spine, let’s look at some of the precautions you should keep in mind about this asana.
- This asana should be avoided during pregnancy and menstruation, as it causes a strong twisting of the abdomen.
- People who have recently undergone abdominal, cardiac or cerebral surgery should not use this asana.
- Those who suffer from a hernia or gastric ulcer should do so with care and under the supervision of a certified yoga teacher.
- People with a slight slip problem will benefit from this asana. However, it must be done under supervision and with the permission of the doctor.
- If you have a serious problem in the spine or a serious problem in the disc, it is better to avoid this asana.
Tips for beginners
The many variations of hands in this posture can complicate the adaptation of the beginners. First, be sure to sit on a blanket and practice that posture. Before testing the variations of the hands and arms, place one arm around the raised leg and hold the thigh against the chest. Over time, you can try other variations.
This is an advanced posture, you can try to deepen the stretch.
If your hips and spine are flexible enough, you can guide the upper left arm towards the upper part of the right thigh.
Keep your legs in the correct position, exhale and look to the right.
Extend the upper part of the thigh and bend the left elbow so that it presses against the outside of the upper part of the right thigh.
Now push the upper body against the thigh and place the upper part of the left arm on the outer leg until the shoulder rests against the knee.
Keep your elbow bent and your hand raised towards the ceiling. Bend to form a slight crease in the upper part of the back. Your shoulder blades should rest firmly against your back. Be sure to lift the front of the torso from the top of the sternum.