Ardha Matsyendrasana
Home  /  Yogasana Postures

Ardha Matsyendrasana (The Half Spinal Twist Pose): Basics, Steps, Benefits & More

Ardha Matsyendrasana is named after the hath yoga revivalist, Yogi Matsyendranath. This posture is one of the most popular mild twisting pose performed swirling the spine. Also a favorite meditation posture and one of the most important asanas in Hatha Yoga. It is also known as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Half Spinal Twist Pose or Vakrasana (meaning twist), which is a form of advanced level Matsyendrasana.

This pose is a grounding stretch for the outer hips. Additionally, your spinal cord also curves in two directions throughout its length. However, it is a bit difficult to practice. But if you do it systematically, anyone can master this asana in a few days.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Basics

Sanskrit PronunciationArdha Matsyendrasana
(ARE-dah MAT-see-en-DRAHS-anna)
Meaning“Ardha” means “half”,
“matsyendra” is “king of fishes”,
“asana” refers to “pose”
Pose TypeMild twisting pose
Pose LevelIntermediate level
Style of yogaHatha yoga 
Other NamesHalf Spinal Twist pose
StretchesArms, shoulders, and spine
Strengthening The spine and leg muscles
Duration30 second to 3 minutes


Due to Matsyendrasana challenging nature, it has been simplified and converted into this form, that is why it is called “Ardha Matsyendrasana”.

let’s understand the meaning of Ardha Matsyendrasana. The name Ardha Matsyendrasana comes from the Sanskrit language here ‘Ardha‘ means ‘Half‘, ‘Matsya‘ means ‘Fish‘, ‘Indra‘ means ‘King‘ and ‘Asana‘ means ‘ yoga posture‘. It is also acknowledged as one of the 15 basic asanas used in many systems of Hatha Yoga.

This asana has another name Vakrasana comes from the Sanskrit language here ‘Vakra’ means twisted and asana means pose. That’s why this asana is called the Spinal Twist pose, as it twists half of the spine performing the pose on one side at a time. This Spinal Twist Pose is a seated spinal twist and has a whole lot of variations.

Mythology Behind the Pose

Mythology is associated with a mythological tale associated with Lord Shiva and Matsyendra, the king of fishes.

According to legend, Lord Shiva was imparting the knowledge of yoga to his wife Parvati on a secluded island. A fish nearby heard this divine conversation and became so engrossed in it that it remained still, absorbing the teachings. When Lord Shiva saw the fish’s dedication and understanding, he sprinkled water on it, gave it enlightenment and transformed it into Matsyendra, who later became one of the original gurus of yoga.

Matsyendra then returned to the world to spread the knowledge of yoga and guide others on their spiritual path. The story emphasizes the idea that yoga is accessible to all beings, regardless of their form, and that dedication and sincerity are essential qualities for spiritual growth.

Practice Guide for Ardha Matsyendrasana

This guide provides practitioners with a systematic breakdown of the pose, offering clear instructions on body positioning, alignment, and breathing techniques.

Preparatory Pose

Steps to do Ardha Matsyendersana (Half lord of the fishes pose)

This asana is a bit complicated, so first of all one should start practicing it by knowing the correct ways to do it. Let us know what are the steps of Ardhamatsyendrasana.

  • Sit on the seat with both legs extended or Dandasana yoga pose.
  • Bend the left leg at the knee and place the heel under the anus. Put the sole of the foot with the right thigh.
  • Now stand with the right leg bent at the knee and while taking it above the thigh of the left leg, keep the back of the thigh above the ground.
  • Place the left hand on the knee of the right leg, that is, while pressing the knee to the side, make the left hand stand straight.
  • Turn the torso to the right so that the pressure of the left shoulder is properly placed above the knee of the right leg.
  • Now keep the right hand pressed on the ground near the right hip.
  • After this, Turn the head to the right so that the chin and left shoulder come in a straight line. Keep the chest tight. Don’t lean down.
  • In last, Fix the mind in the Manipura  Chakra located behind the navel.
  • It was a one-sided seat.
  • Similarly, first bend the right leg and press the heel under the anus and do the posture on the other side.
  • It is enough to do this asana for five seconds in the beginning. Then by increasing the practice, one can do asana on one side for one minute.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Benefits

  • By keeping the spine healthy with Ardha Matsyendrasana, the energy of puberty remains. Along with the bones of the spine, the nerves coming out of them also get a good workout.
  • This asana makes the shoulder more flexible. and shoulder twists are essential to detoxify our emotions and body.
  • Various parts of the abdomen are also benefited. The back, stomach, legs, neck, arms, waist, below the navel and the nerves of the chest get a good stretch, it has a good effect on them.
  • By regular practicing of Twist Pose the pains of the waist, back pain, and joints are quickly removed.
  • Along with the spine, it also affects the health of the joints. The joints of the legs, arms, and waist become healthy and strong.
  • Half Spinal Twist yoga pose not only helps in curing nervous disorders but also helps in indigestion and consequently the bondage goes away.
  • The practice of Ardha Matsyendrasana activates the solar plexus and Vishuddha Chakra, resulting in increased oxygen and blood circulation to the lungs and other parts of the chest, thereby relieving throat or respiratory problems.
  • Abs are strengthened by practicing Ardha Matsyendrasana daily and this asana also works to tone them. Apart from this, the muscles also get stronger.
  • This asana is beneficial for deformed liver, spleen and inactive kidney.
  • This yoga posture is more beneficial for women having problems in menstruation, fatigue or pain in the body.


  • This asana must be avoided during pregnancy and menstruation due to the twist at the abdomen.
  • If practitioner suffering from major slipped disc.
  • In the case of Hyperthyroidism must avoid this asana.
  • Should avoid in case of severe back ache or spinal injury.


Ardha Matsyendrasana is not very easy like other asanas, so beginners of yoga should practice this asana only under the supervision of a yoga expert. But after a few days of practice, it becomes quite easy to do this asana. From health point of view it is beneficial for various parts of the body.


The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional