How to do Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist Pose)

A powerful seated twist pose which provides various benefits for the entire body. When you twist your body in this pose, it increases the flexibility of your spine, relaxes the nervous system and calms our brain, tones the abdominal organs and improves the digestion. This asana brings many benefits to your body, mind and soul.

Ardha-Half | Matsyendra-King of the fish | Asana-Pose

This asana is pronounced as ARE-dah MAT-see-en-DRAHS-anna, Sanskrit- अर्धमत्स्येन्द्रासन. Ardha Matsyendrasana is also known as Vakrasana or Half Spinal Twist pose or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose. This pose is named after the yogi Matsyendrasana, a yoga guru from India. This pose is one of the 12 basic asanas of Hatha Yoga.

Benefits of Half Spinal Twist Pose

  • This pose helps to relieve menstrual disorders and urinary tract infections.
  • Opens up the chest and increases the supply of oxygen to the lungs.
  • Helps to detoxify the internal organs and increases the circulation of blood.
  • Relieves stiffness, back pain and cures slipped disc, sciatica
  • Massages and stimulates Pancreas and thus helps in controlling diabetes.
  • This pose helps to relieve stress and tension in your back.
  • This pose stretches shoulders, hips, back and build your spine more flexible.
  • It also helps to calm the nervous system and tones abdomen.


If you have any recent medical concerns, discuss with your doctor before practising this yoga pose. Practitioners who have recently undergone abdominal, heart or brain surgeries should not practice this pose. It’s advisable to practice this pose under the guidance of a yoga teacher if you are suffering from a hernia, peptic ulcers or minor slipped disc problem. Women should avoid this pose during menstruation and pregnancy.

Steps to do a perfect Half Spinal Twist Pose


  • Sit up with the legs stretched out, keeping the feet together and the spine erect.
  • Bend the left leg and place the heel of the left foot beside the right hip.
  • Take the right leg over the left knee and place the left hand on the right knee. Keep the right hand behind you.
  • Twist your waist, shoulders and neck towards the right and look over the right shoulder.
  • While keeping your spine straight, continue long breath in and out.
  • Now, exhale and release the right hand first, then release the chest and waist.
  • Release your neck and sit relaxed. Repeat on the other side.


If you are feeling uncomfortable sitting on the floor, then prop yourself up on a folded blanket or extra yoga mats. If it is difficult to place your opposite side elbow to the outside of the raised leg, then hug the thigh with your hands. Slowly and steadily you will gain flexibility and will be able to wrap your arm around your thigh.


You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this pose. Ensure to have your meals at least four to five hours before you do the asana so that your food gets properly digested, and you can expand your body fully during the practice.

Ensure to keep your neck relaxed throughout the posture. Balance your head gently over your spine. Never do the twist with your head. Your head must turn at last. Keep your stomach soft throughout the twist and your buttocks grounded throughout the pose. Never rush or force in this pose. Remind yourself every time that Yoga is about the journey and not the destination. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to twist deeper. Use your breath to deepen the stretch.

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

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