Ardha Matsyendrasana is a Sanskrit word; “ardha” means half, “matsya” means fish, “indra” means ruler (king), and “asana” means pose.
This is a most difficult asana requiring a flexible body similar to rubber. Twisting yoga poses can cleanse and rejuvenate the body. The abdominal organs receive a deep internal message, helping to squeeze out toxins, stimulate digestion, and supply organs with fresh circulation on release. This asana can regulate adrenaline and bile secretion. This yoga is useful for the yogic management of diabetes, hypertension, sinusitis, hay fever, bronchitis, constipation, menstrual disorders, and urinary tract disorders.
Ardha Matsyendrasana can massage the pancreas, kidneys, stomach, small intestines, liver, and gallbladder. The region matches to Manipura Chakra, therefore, stimulating and unblocking this region can improve the vitality and health of the whole body.
How do you do Ardha Matsyendrasana?
- Sit on the floor, with the legs stretched straight in front.
- Bend the right knee, slightly raise the seat place the right foot under the right-side buttocks and sit on the right foot. The foot should be horizontal to the floor and use it as the seat, the outer side of the ankle and the little toe rest over the ground. Otherwise, it is impossible to sit on it. Balance securely in this position.
- Bend the left knee, lift the left leg from the floor, and place it by the outer side of the right thigh (outer side of the left ankle [joint connecting the foot with the leg] should touch the outer side of the right thigh on the floor). Keep the left shin (leg below the knee) perpendicular with the floor and balance yourself in this position.
- Turn the torso to the left until the right armpit touches the outer side of the left thigh. Place the armpit over the left knee.
- Exhale, stretch the right arm from the shoulder and bend it around the left knee. The right arm should hold the left knee firmly without any space between the right armpit and the left knee. To do this, exhale and push the trunk forward. Stay in this position and take two breaths.
- With deep exhale swing back the left arm from the shoulder, twist the left elbow, bring the left hand behind the waist and either clasp it with the right hand or vice versa. At the beginning, you will be able to catch a finger or two. With regular practice, it becomes possible to catch the palms and then the wrists behind the back.
- Turn the neck to the right and gaze the right shoulder or towards left and gaze to the center of the eyebrows. A greater spinal twist is possible, if the neck is turning to the right instead of left.
- The diaphragm is squeezing by the spinal twist; breathing becomes shorter and faster. No panic, on regular practice it becomes possible to hold for half a minute to a minute with normal breathing.
- Release the hands, take the left foot from the floor, and straighten the left and then the right leg.
- Repeat the pose on the other side and hold it for the same length of time. Here, fold the left leg and sit over the left foot. Move the right leg over the left and rest the right foot on the floor so that the right ankle outside touches the left thigh outside on the floor. Twist the trunk towards the right, put the left armpit over the right knee and turn the left arm around the right knee. Bend the left elbow and bring the left hand behind the waist. Stay in this pose and take two breaths. Exhale and swing the right arm back from the shoulder turn the right elbow and hold the hands behind the wrist back. Then release and relax.
In the beginning, it may be difficult to twist either arm around the opposite knee. In that situation, try holding the opposite foot, keeping the arm straight at the elbow. It also needs regular practice to hold the hands behind the back. Gradually arms backward stretch will improve and able to hold the fingers, next palms, then wrist, once mastered even the forearms above the wrists.
Benefits of Half-Spinal Twist Pose
- Cleanses the internal organs, improves digestion and elimination of wastes.
- Releases excess heat and toxins from organs and tissues.
- This asana exercises the vertebrae and keeps them flexible. This asana provides relief from splitting backaches, lumbago and pains in the hips. Sprains in the shoulder and frees the shoulder movements. It strengthens the spinal nerves.
- It helps the liver, spleen, bladder, pancreas, intestines and other abdominal organs. This asana is helpful in treating of obesity, dyspepsia, asthma and diabetes.
- This asana has a great effect over the pancreas and other glands, such as adrenal, thyroid and sex glands. It fully activates the muscle and organs in the abdominal region. This energizes and strengthens the pancreas; therefore, pancreas functioning improves, best suitable for diabetes.
- This asana heals disorder of kidneys, spleen, liver, stomach, intestine, bladder and pelvic region.
- The prostate and bladder will not enlarge, if one practices it regularly.