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Ardha Matsyendrasana

Half Spinal Twist Pose

Half Spinal Twist

"I radiate love and goodwill to soul-friends everywhere."

Ar-dha Mat-syen-draa-sa-na

Ardha = half; Matsyendra = the mythological

first yogi (name means "Lord of the Fish")


From dandasana, bend your knees and slide your right foot under your left knee, placing it on the floor just outside your left hip, with your right knee directly in front of your navel. Cross your left foot over your right knee and place it on the floor. Sit squarely on both sitbones.

Place your left hand on the floor by your sacrum, and wrap your right hand around the outside of your left knee. Level your shoulders. On an inhalation/ lengthen your spine, pressing down through your left arm to help give length. On the exhalation, gently begin to rotate your torso to your left, rotating only in your lumbar spine.

Continue gradually, over the course of a number of breaths: inhale and lengthen, exhale and rotate. Move the twist progressively up your spine, finishing with your neck. Relatively early in the twist, it will feel more comfortable to place your left knee in the crook of your right elbow; as you twist farther, you can bring your right elbow to the outside of your left knee, with your right hand resting on your left thigh. Keep your shoulders level and relaxed at all times.

As the twist nears completion, begin mentally affirming, "I radiate love and goodwill to soul-friends everywhere." Continue affirming while in the completed twist, breathing smoothly and naturally.

To exit, inhale and lengthen your spine, then begin to rotate back the other way on the exhalation, beginning with your neck and moving down your spine. Take as many breaths as needed to exit comfortably back to a forward-facing position.

When finished, bring both knees up to your chest and wrap your arms around them. Keep your spine straight.

Pause to integrate the effects of the twist, then repeat to the other side.