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Ardha Matsyendrasana: Steps and Benefits

Ardha Matsyendrasana 3

Ardha Matsyendrasana 3


Ardha Matsyendrasana, also known as the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, is an advanced yoga pose that offers a variety of benefits. This posture can improve hip and spine flexibility, help to stimulate the digestive system and promote a feeling of calm and relaxation.

Ardha Matsyendrasana is a yoga posture that belongs to the group Matsyendrasana. This pose is the most popular among its group of poses. It is an easier variant of the full form of advanced-level Matsyendrasana.

Let us have some insight into its meaning, the steps involved, and the benefits it offers.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Meaning

The Sanskrit term Ardha Matsyendrasana is the combination of three words: Ardha, Matsyendra, and Asana. Ardha means a half. Matsyendra is Sage Matsyendranath. Asana means posture. Hence it gets the name Half Matsyendranath Pose.

The name Matsyendra is also a combination of two words: Matsya and Indra. Matsya means fish and Indra means Lord. Hence the name means the Lord of the Fishes. It is why we call this pose alternatively Half Lord of the Fishes Pose.

This posture is an important posture of the Spinal Twist. Hence Matsyendrasana is also called a Spinal Twist and Ardha Matsyendrasana a Half Spinal Twist.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Information

Pose NameArdha Matsyendrasana
Sanskritअर्ध मत्स्येन्द्रासन
IASTArdha Matsyendrāsana
English NameHalf Matsyendranath Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
OriginMedieval Yoga Period
Difficuty LevelIntermediate
TypeSpinal Twist
Seated Twist

Origin and History

The full version of Matsyendrasana was the favorite pose of Sage Matsyendranath, the founder of Hatha Yoga and Nath Sampradaya (Nath tradition). Hatha Yoga Pradipika describes the full form of Matsyendrasana.

Curious legend of Sage Matsyendra

There is a legend about Sage Matsyendra. Once Lord Shiva (Lord Adinath) went to a lonely island with Goddess Parvati. He taught the secrets of Yoga to Parvati. Lord Shiva saw a fish hearing that teaching and remaining still its mind in concentration. On seeing the concentration, Lord Shiva took mercy on the Fish and made him an accomplished Yogi with a divine body. He came to be known as Matsyendra. Alternate versions of this legend are also available. Thus Lord Adinath is the founder of Hatha Yoga and Yogi Matsyendranath is the first disciple.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Procedure

Ardha Matsyendrasana Safety and Precautions

One should take care when one has a Spinal Injury or issues. If one has a degenerative disc or sciatica, he should consult his physician before attempting this posture.

Those who have gone through surgery for their knees or knee ailments should avoid this posture.

Preparatory Poses

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is not a very hard one to perform. It comes your way with a little practice. However, if one has some experience with the following preparatory poses, it will be easier for him to get master it.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Steps

Step 1

Sit with your legs stretched out. Bend the right leg and place the right foot on the floor outside of the left knee with toes facing forward.

Step 2

Bend the left leg and bring the foot to the right buttock. The left heel should touch the right buttock and the outside of the left leg should be on the floor.

Step 3

Hold the right foot or ankle with your left hand placing the arm outside of your right knee so that the left armpit should be closer to your right knee. Sit straight.

Step 4

Raise your right hand to shoulder level horizontally and fix the eye-sight on your fingers. Slowly twist the torso to the right with the arm, trunk, and head. Eyesight should move with your fingers.

Step 5

Now bend the right elbow and place the right arm around the back of the waist. The back of the right hand should go around the left side of the waist.

Step 6

Reverse the steps to release the posture and repeat it with the other side.


Initially, a practice of one or two minutes on each side is enough. Gradually, you can extend to a duration of five minutes on each side.

Release Procedure

The release procedure should be Step 5 through Step 1 in reverse order.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Tips

A beginner may use a blanket folded under the buttock for support. Some experts recommend sitting near a wall and placing the back near the wall. But it requires competent supervision. It is not recommended when you are doing this yourself.

Advanced Pose Considerations

Once proficient by performing at least five minutes on each side, one may go for Matsyendrasana full version.

Follow Up Poses

After performing this pose, one of the postures with outstretched legs or standing poses should be done.

  1. Pascimottanasana
  2. Padahasthasana

Ardha Matsyendrasana Variations

Apart from the version mentioned in the steps above, there are two more versions of Ardha Matsyendrasana. Let us call them Version 2 and Version 3.

Variation 2

In version 2, instead of holding the right foot with the left hand, the left hand should be placed under the right knee and clasped with the palms of the right hand.

Variation 3

In version 3, the left hand is folded up by the elbow smoothly pressing against the right knee. The right hand is placed vertically down the floor. This is an easier version.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Benefits

Similar Yoga Poses

This posture belongs to the Group of Matsyendrasana. The following postures also belong to this group.

  1. Poorna Matyendrasana or Simply Matsyendrasana (Lord of the Fishes Pose)
  2. Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclined Lord of the Fishes Pose)
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