Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist) steps, precautions and benefits

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Ardha Matsyendrasana also known as Vakrasana is seated spinal twist and falls into the category of intermediate yoga poses yet its simpler variation can be practiced by beginners as well. Half Spinal Twist also acknowledged as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is one of those yoga poses that have quite complex steps. Its new practitioners often end up getting confused while following the steps. Before you practice, ensure you are aware of the steps very well. It has several variations out of which we have selected two to be mentioned in this article today. So let’s get to know them after splitting the Sanskrit name Ardha Matsyendrasana¬†and revealing the meaning of each word.

Ardha = Half

Matsya = Fish

Indra = King or Lord

Asana = Posture

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist) steps, precautions and benefits

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Steps to practice Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist)

Starting Position: Sit straight, keeping the legs outstretched in front of the body.

Position the legs first:

  1. Bend the right leg over the left leg, placing the right foot on the outside of the left knee, keep the toes of right foot face forward.
  2. Bend the left leg, bringing the left foot near the right buttock. keep left foot’s outside edge in contact with the floor.

Now position arms and hands

  1. There is a space between your chest and right knee. Pass the left arm through that space bringing the left hand close to the right foot.
  2. Grab a firm hold of the right foot with the left hand bringing the right knee closer to left armpit. Try to keep the spine erect.

Make the twist

  1. Slowly twist the trunk to the right along with moving the neck.
  2. Wrap the right arm around the waist placing the fingers on the left inner thigh.
  3. Use the left arm pressing it against the right leg to move the trunk as far as you can comfortably.
  4. Gaze straight over the right shoulder at a fixed point. Relax the body taking deep and slow breaths.
  5. To return, reverse the movements one by one. Repeat on the opposite side.

Practice once on both the sides by interchanging the position of arms and legs.

Variation 2

This is a much simpler variation than the above and is beneficial for the people having a stiff body or low flexibility of the muscles and joints.

  1. Bend the right leg, placing the right foot near the left knee, keep the toes of right foot face forward. Keep the left leg
  2. Place the left elbow next to the right knee keep the upper arm straight.
  3. Slowly twist the trunk to the right as far as you can comfortably along with neck.
  4. Bring the right arm behind the buttock (close to the body) placing the palm on the floor.
  5. Gaze straight over the right shoulder at a fixed point. Relax the body taking deep and slow breaths.
  6. To return, reverse the movements one by one. Repeat on the opposite side.

Practice once on both the sides by interchanging the position of arms and legs.

Precautions for Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist)

  • Perform the Half Spinal Twist after practicing forward and backward bending yoga pose.
  • Neither twist the torso all of a sudden nor overstretch it as that way you may strain the muscles.
  • Practice Half Spinal Twist in the presence of a competent yoga trainer if you suffer from a hernia, heart disease, ulcer or
  • Avoid practicing Ardha Matsyendrasana in case of sciatica or slipped disc.
  • This pose is not recommended to be practiced by pregnant women.

Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist)

  • Tones the spinal nerves, stretches back muscles and contracts the abdomen at the same time.
  • Gives relief in lumbago and reduces muscle spasms and cramps.
  • Beneficial for people suffering from asthma or other respiratory diseases.
  • Massages and improves the functioning of abdominal organs, especially toning the liver, pancreas and the kidneys.
  • Alleviates digestive and gastric problems. Stimulates appetite.
  • Regulates adrenaline in the body by balancing the secretions of the adrenal
  • Useful in getting rid of obesity as the regular practice of this asana removes excess body fat.

Stay healthy stay strong and get the best out of life.

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