Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sanskrit: अर्धमत्स्येन्द्रासन), Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Half Spinal Twist Pose or Vakrasana is an asana that usually appears as a seated spinal twist with many variations, and is one of the twelve basic asanas in many systems of Hatha Yoga.
- Sit up with the legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping the feet together and the spine erect.
- Bend the left leg and place the heal of the left foot beside the right hip (optionally, you can keep the left leg straight).
- Take the right leg over the left knee.
- Place the left hand on the right knee and the right hand behind you.
- Twist the waist, shoulders and neck in this sequence to the right and look over the right shoulder.
- Keep the spine erect.
- Hold and continue with gentle long breaths in and out.
- Breathing out, release the right hand first (the hand behind you), release the waist, then chest,lastly the neck and sit up relaxed yet straight.
- Repeat to the other side.
- Breathing out, come back to the front and relax.
- Increase hips and spine flexibility.
- Removes the wastes and improves digestion
- Stimulate heart, kidneys, liver, spleen and lungs.
- Open the neck, hips and shoulders.
- Relieve fatigue, sciatica, backache and menstrual discomfort.
- Clean the internal organs.
- Releases excess toxins and heat from tissues and organs.
- Energizes and stretches the backbone.
- Should be avoided during pregnancy and menstruation due to the strong twist in the abdomen.
- People with Heart, abdominal or brain surgeries should not practice this asana.
- Care should be taken for those with peptic ulcer or hernia.
- Those with severe spinal problems should avoid and those with mild slipped disc can benefit but in severe cases it should be avoided.