Seated Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Seated Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana) via flckr
Pronunciation: ARE-dah MOT-see-en-DRAHS-anna
Pose Type: Seated

Seated Twist pose, or Ardha Matsyendrasana also called Half Lord of the Fishes pose, lengthens, nourishes, and realigns the spine. This pose stimulates the nervous, digestive, and reproductive systems of the body. Depending on your flexibility, you may be able to take the pose farther by reaching the arms into a bind.

It is often difficult at first to get the torso snug against the inner thigh. If this happens, position yourself a foot or so away from a wall, with your back to the wall, and when you twist push the wall away from you to encourage the front torso to connect with the thigh.

Pose Sequence

You can begin this pose from a seated position on the mat with your legs straight out in front of you, buttocks on the floor:

  1. Bend your knees and put your feet on the floor, then slide the left foot under the right leg to the outside of the right hip.
  2. Lay the outside of the left leg on the floor and step the right foot over the left leg to position it outside of your left hip. The right knee will point toward the ceiling.
  3. Exhale and twist toward the inside of the right thigh. Press the right hand against the floor just behind your right butt cheek; set your left upper arm on the outside of the right thigh near the knee. Pull your torso and inner right thigh snugly together.
  4. Keep your inner right foot actively on the floor. Release the right groin and lengthen the torso.
  5. Work your knee against your elbow and your elbow against your knee to twist a little more with every breath. Distribute the twist evenly throughout your entire spine so it doesn’t concentrate in the lower back.

To release from the pose, lift your left arm and slowly return to a neutral spine by facing forward. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits of Seated Twist Pose

The benefits of this pose include:

  • Stretches your hip rotators and hips
  • Strengthens your oblique abdominal muscles
  • Relieves thoracic and mid-back spinal tension
  • Expands your chest and shoulders
  • Increase your spinal flexibility
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Helps with detoxification

Ardha Matsyendrasana improves your spinal range of motion and feels amazing on your back.

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By Virginia O'Connor

Co-founder of and writer/content manager.