Ardha Matsyendrasana - Half Lord-of-the-Fishes Pose 

This half-spinal twist has various benefits for the body when safely practiced.

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana

Benefits of Regular practice in a steady and comfortable manner within a balanced yoga asana program:
  • Stimulates the Solar Plexus Chakra and therefore stimulates and balances the functions of your stomach, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and pancreas
  • Stimulates the functioning of your liver, having a detoxifying effect
  • Aligns your spine as the ligaments attached to your spine stretch
  • Improving memory and concentration
  • Rejuvenates and energizes your spine by massaging your intervertebral discs and causing more nutrients to diffuse into the discs, as well as stimulating the production of growth factors limited by aging
  • Relieves back pain and stiffness from between your vertebrae;• stimulates your pelvic region, providing a fresh blood supply to the reproductive organs and urinary system
  • Stimulates your pelvic region, providing a fresh blood supply to the reproductive organs and urinary system
  • Massages your abdominal organs and increases your digestive juices
  • Stimulates the functioning of your pancreas, and therefore balances blood sugar levels
  • Relieves tension that may have built up in your back from forward-bending and backbending asanas
  • Opens your chest and increases the oxygen supply to the lungs and therefore can have a therapeutic effect for asthma
  • Relieves stiffness in your hip joints
  • Releases tension in your arms , shoulders , upper back , and neck.

Contra-indications & cautions

  • Lower-back and spinal issues (e.g. chronic pain, herniated disc, sciatica, SI-joint instability)
  • Abdominal issues (e.g. diarrhea, ulcer, menstrual pains, recent surgery)


In case of any chronic back issue such as herniated disc, sciatica, or SI-joint issues, twisting should be approached with caution. The focus should be more on keeping the lower spine relatively straight and creating a gentle twist more in the thoracic part of the spine.

If, due to tightness in your lower back or hips, it is not possible to keep both sitting bones on the floor, straighten your lower leg.

How to come into the pose

Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your right leg, bring the heel to your left hip, and make sure both hips are on the floor. Cross your left foot over your right knee and place it on the floor. Place your left hand behind your spine, palm flat on the floor (if possible). Reach up with your right hand, bringing your right elbow to the outside of your left knee. If flexibility allows, you can hold on to your left ankle. Twist gently toward your left, looking over your shoulder.

Coming out of the pose

Gently turn back, release your arms and unwind your legs. Then repeat on the other side.

Alignment cues

  • Keep both sitting bones on the floor, if necessary moving your lower heel out a bit.
  • Keep shoulders above hips, but do not lean on the hand behind your back.
  • Keep shoulders above hips, but do not lean on the hand behind your back.
  • Keeping your spine as erect as possible and the back of your neck elongated.


  • Beginners: 1 minute per side
  • Intermediate: 1–2 minutes per side
  • Advanced: 2–3 minutes per side

For more yoga asanas and exercises, make sure to visit the Arhanta Yoga Asana Guide!

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