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Poses

Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose / Ardha Matsyendrasana

Yoga pose: Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose/Ardha Matsyendrasana
Step by step
  • Sit with your legs outstretched in front of you (Staff Pose / Dandasana). If you find it difficult to sit with a straight spine, sit on a block or pillow, something sturdy.
  • Lift your right knee and place your right foot on the outside of your left leg, knee height. If the next step is difficult and the sit bones are not both on the floor keep the legs this way.
  • Bend your left leg and place the left foot on the outside of your right hip.
  • Place your right arm behind you, breathe in and extend your left arm up to the ceiling, then bend and hook your elbow behind the knee as you twist to the right, lower arm and hand pointing up or arm down trying to hold on to the left knee or even the right foot.
  • First on the inbreath ground the sitting bones into the floor and lengthen through the spine.
  • On the outbreath you begin to twist more to your right, from belly button upwards, first ribcage than your chest, neck and head.
  • Keep your shoulders level, keep spreading through the collar bones.
  • Every inbreath you create length in the spine, every outbreath you feel if you can move deeper into the twist.
  • Stay for 5 to 8 breaths.
  • On an outbreath you come out of the twist, move back into Dandasana, and repeat on the other side.
Beginners tips
  • If you can't get your elbow to rest behind the knee, you can simply hug the knee into your chest.
  • Work on keeping the spine nice and long more than how far you can twist.
Benefits
  • Helps to restore the spine's natural range of motion.
  • Stretches your hips, shoulders and neck.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Relieves backache and sciatica.
Watch out for
  • If you have a back or spinal injury, this pose should be done under supervision only.
  • Don't allow your lower back to collapse, if you feel you can't keep your back straight in this twist, sit on something higher.
Variations
  • To get the torso snug against your inner thigh, move to a wall. Make sure your back is to the wall, and sit a foot or so away from it, depending on the length of your arms. When twisting, use the wall as an opposing force to help move the front of the torso against the thigh.
  • If you are fully comfortable in this pose you can deepen it by increasing the twist further. Allow the the back of the shoulder blades to press against the knee, moving the outer hand further along in the twist. Keep the elbow that is resting on the knee bent and the hand raised.
Complementary Poses
Try it in class

Hips / Hamstrings Class 1 - for members only

Teacher: Esther Ekhart
Level: All levels
Style: Hatha
Duration: 45 mins

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