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Yoga Poses: Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Resources, Yoga

Yoga Poses: Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)



The Ardha Matsyendrasana is named after a fish Matsyendra, who was blessed with this name by the Hindu God Shiva as he realized that the fish had learnt Yoga while Shiva was teaching it to his consort Parvati.The aasana derives its name from the Sanskrit language in which Ardha means half, matsya means fish, indra means king and asana means a Yoga pose.

This asana is a type of a spinal twist with many variations and is one of the 12 basic Asanas in the systems of Hatha Yoga.

Health Benefits

This pose facilitates the twisting of the entire spinal column, i.e., from the base to the top, thus energizing the spine and relieving backache. It also helps in toning the nerves of the spine and its ligaments. This pose stimulates the kidneys and the liver and proves to be a good stretch for the neck, shoulders and hips. It also fetches relief from menstrual discomfort, fatigue and sciatica. It has therapeutic value for asthma and infertility patients.

The Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is said to improve digestion which also results in an increase in appetite. This aasana helps destroy most of the deadly diseases of the body and is also known to awaken Kundalini.

Getting into pose

What you need:  A room with fresh air (if you are doing it indoors, otherwise do it in an open area), a Yoga mat and you.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Initial Position: Seated Staff Pose or Dandasana

Drishti or Gaze: Keep your gaze soft or you can even close your eyes.


  1. Sit on the floor and spread your legs in front of you with your arms to your sides. This is called the Dandasana or Seated Staff Pose.
  2. Bend both your knees and place your feet soles flat on the floor.
  3. Now drop your left knee to your left side touching it to the ground. Slide your left foot under your right leg and let it rest along your buttock. The right knee should point up at the sky.
  4. Inhale and raise your left arm over your head. Now twist to the right, such that your torso gets placed on the inside of your right thigh.
  5. Place your left elbow (upper arm) on the outer side of your right thigh, near the right knee. The palm of the left hand should be open with fingers pointing towards the sky. Pull your torso and inner right thigh close together.
  6. Turn your head in any of the following two directions:
    • To the right (continuing to twist to right)
    • To the left (looking over the left shoulder)
  7. With every exhalation, twist a little more and press the fingers of your right hand on to the floor.
  8. Stay in this pose for half a minute, relax and repeat.

Other variations

      • Ardha Matsyendrasana II: From seated Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana), extend the bottom leg. Let one arm go behind the back to catch hold of the foot of the Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana) leg and with the other hand hold the extended leg.
      • Ardha Matsyendrasana III: From the Ardha Matsyendrasana, let the leg touching the floor (bottom leg) take the Lotus Pose (Padmasana) and let the arms bind together by catching either foot.

Preparatory Poses

Beginner Tips

The left arm (or right) is wrapped around the upper thigh of the raised right (or left) leg. This may be difficult for beginners to perform so they can firstly, take support by sitting on a blanket and can then wrap their left (or right) arm around the raised leg and can draw the thigh closer to the torso.

Important Notes

The conditions that make this pose inadvisable to be performed are as follows:

  • Pregnancy
  • Spinal injury
  • Back pain
  • Back injury

Further reading

  1. Pranayama – Beginner’s Guide
  2. 20 Tips To Pick And Practice The Perfect Yoga For You
  3. Prenatal Yoga – Yoga For Blissful Pregnancy

Last Updated: June 19, 2014

Next Scheduled Update: Aug 20, 2014

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