Ardha Matsyendrasana – Seated Half Twist


What is the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose?

The Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, also called the Ardha Matsyendrasana in Sanskrit, or better known as the Seated Twist Pose, is a Yoga pose that helps improve one’s postural & body awareness, while stimulating good digestion as it properly directs energy through your spine.


Benefits of the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (a.k.a. Seated Twist Pose)

Here the health benefits or main advantages of this Yoga pose.

  • Improves your postural & body awareness
  • Helps promote proper digestion as it facilitates body peristalsis (movement in your digestive tract).
  • Relieves constipation from the stimulation and movement of your lower abdominal tract.
  • Aids with any issues of bloating and gas.
  • Strengthens the core, specifically the muscles that support your spine.
  • Stretches the back, buttocks (gluteals), front of thighs (quadriceps), and outer thighs (abductors).
  • Improves overall body posture, counteracting the negative effects of frequently sitting down.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Do Half Lord of the Fishes Yoga Pose

Here are the steps in doing the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose or Seated Twist Pose:

  1. Begin seated with the Cow Face (Gomukhasana) Pose, your legs crossed with your right knee up on top.
  2. With your bottom bones, root down and rebound up the entire length of your back’s spine.
  3. Envision a central axis with positive energy moving through your torso, starting from your pelvic floor and then running up to the crown of your head.
  4. As you breathe, focus both on the length and integrity of your central axis. Do this by keeping the column straight & not tilting nor curving off to any of each of your sides.
  5. Step up your right foot to the outside of your left knee, keeping your left leg in its position. With your right big toe’s mound, root down as you simultaneously descend your right outer hip. 
  6. Inhale, raising your left arm up to the ceiling. 
  7. Exhale, hooking your left elbow to the outer side of your right knee.
  8. Now, place your right hand flat on the floor outside your right hip. 
  9. Notice if your right knee buckles into your midline. Press it to your right side instead to create more resistance for your left elbow. 
  10. Inhale as you work in more length through your central axis, and exhale as you use that “lengthening stretch” to twist deeper. 
  11. Finally, repeat the steps on the other side.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose – Variations/ Modifications

Here are 3 ways to do a “Modified Half Lord of the Fishes” Yoga pose:

1. Gentle Half Lord of the Fishes

Try it simply by comfortably wrapping your arm around your knee instead of locking your elbow up your outer knee.

2. Chair Half Lord of the Fishes

Try it seated on a chair with your legs crossed comfortably, twisting your torso toward your top leg, and your hands grabbing onto the side or back of the chair. Focus on stretching the length of your spine, and keep the pose for several breaths before repeating on the other side.

3. Half Lord of the Fishes with Leg out

Instead of doing it flexed, try it with the bottom leg extended.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose – Cautions and Contraindications

  • Avoid or modify it if you have back arthritis (or any acute back pain), SI (sacroiliac) pain, osteoporosis, disc bulging (herniation), injuries, or any surgeries.
  • Caution or modify it if you have knee arthritis (or any knee pain), injury, replacement, or any other limitation to your knee(s).
  • Caution or modify it if you have hip arthritis (or any hip pain) or have undergone hip replacement.
  • Remember, slowly transition in & out of the pose for extra care and safety.


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