Ardha Matsyendrasana - Half Lord of the Fishes

Contraindications & Cautions

Also known as Seated Spinal Twist.  Twists are a wonderful way to purify the body and free the mind.  Twisting poses revolve the front body towards the back body.  Our front body symbolises our concious as we are more aware of what the front of our bodies are doing at any given time and our back body represents our subconcious selves. And so twists not only help to cleanse the body of toxins but also enables us to let go and release negative thoughts and emotions.

"They bring light into darkness and the dark to light, a process essential to yoga"                      

Rama Jyoti Vernon

Many names of yoga asanas (poses) come from myths and stories that teaches us about the beauty of human nature, the qualities and attributes that can be hidden inside of us.  Ardha Matsyendra teaches us the virtues of concentration and stillness.  Here is a brief snipet of Matsyendra's story: 

"The infant Matsyendra, is thrown into the ocean because his birth has occured under inauspicious planets.  Swallowed by a giant fish he overhears Shiva teaching the mysteries of yoga to his consort Parvati in thier secert liar at the bottom of the ocean.  Matsyendra is spellbound.  After spending 12 years in the fishes belly, all the while exploring yoga's esoteric practices, he emerges as an enlightened master."

Colleen Morton Bursh

  • Pregnancy -  (Turn away from bent leg for an open twist)

  • Spinal Injury

  • People with hernia or peptic ulcer should be minful

  • Post baby or those with diastasis recti (abdominal seperation)

  • Osteoporsis ( Lengthen the spine but don't turn into the twist)

Tips & Hints

  • If your hips are tight and stiff, straighten the bottom leg.

  • Sit on a block if your hamstrings or back are tight.

  • The extension of the spine is the so important before you twist. 

Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana


  • Can help to elinimate negative thoughts and emotions

  • Relieves stress

  • Energises the body by easing fatigue


  • Increases spinal roatation and boosts blood flow to the discs

  • Builds strength and flexibility in the small erector spinae muscles along your spine.

  • Nourishes the internal organs especially the stomach, intestines and kidneys

  • Stimulates digsetion and the liver

  • Opens the chest and increases oxygen supply to the lungs

  • Improves posture espically rounded shoulders.

  • Relieves stiffness and tension in arms, shoulders, upper back and neck.

  • Helps loosen stiffness in hips and back


  • Relieves menstraul discomfort

  •  Improves loss of appetite

  • Conspitation

  • Diabetics 

Over twice the amount of women than men suffer from some sort of disgestive disorder.  This may be due to underlying stress that cause us to hold onto things.  This is where yoga twists can be really helpful.

Ofcourse diet is a factor, however when we are stressed we tend to clench the belly which slows down digestion.  Many of us also have developed a negative relationship with ourselves mainly our bodies, wishing ourselves thinnier, smaller or more toned, getting angry and upset with ourselves when we eat the wrong things.  All of these negative thoughts can be toxic to our bodies resulting in an unbalanced, drained and unloved digestive tract that needs much needed care and attention. 

Yoga twists, especially seated spinal twists give us the opportunity to address our often neglected digestive organs as we lengthen and extend the spine we are lifting up out of our hips to give our organs there own space. We allow the belly to soften and expand on the inhale and give the organs a gentle loving massage as we exhale and twist into the pose.

Emma Costelllo

Tel: 087-212-4644