Many schools of Hatha Yoga include a seated spinal twist (also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana, Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Half Spinal Twist Pose, or Vakrasana) as one of the twelve basic asanas.

What is Matsyendrasana?

  • Matsyendranath, the founder of Hatha Yoga in the ninth century, is honored with this asana’s name.
  • Ardh Matsyendrasana Asana derives from the Sanskrit words ardha (meaning “half”), matsya (meaning “fish”), eendra (meaning “king”), and asana (meaning “posture” or “seat”).
  • The Sanskrit word “Vakra” (meaning “twisted” or “reverse”) is the source of Vakrasana’s English name.

How To Do Matsyendrasana?

In the Basic Session, this is one of the few stretches that rotates the spine. While most people bend their spines in one of two directions, exceptionally flexible people also twist their spines laterally. In addition to helping with digestion, this exercise strengthens the ligaments and nerves in the spine.

At India Yoga School Ardha Matsyendrasana, also known as the Half-Spinal Twist, is also covered to help students become ready for the Full Pose (Sukhasana).

Hold the pose with an erect spine and relaxed shoulders, breathing evenly as you twist more with each exhale.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Pose Steps:

Follow the steps below by turning to the left, then to the right.

  • Put your hands on your heels and kneel down, bringing your knees together.
  • You should move your seat to the right of your feet.
  • Raise your left leg and rest the outside of your right knee on the sole of your foot.
  • Tuck your right heel up against your behind. Maintain an upright posture.
  • Stretch your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, then twist around to the left.
  • The next step is to keep your left foot in your right hand while laying your left hand on the floor behind you and bringing your right arm down to rest on the outside of your left knee. As you let your breath out, twist as far to the left as you can. Check the area behind your left hand.

Also Read: Sarvangasana Pose and Benefits

Ardha Matsyendrasana Benefits

  • Stretch out your hips and back more.
  • Helps flush out toxins and stimulates digestion.
  • Heart, kidney, liver, spleen, and lung function should be stimulated.
  • Relax the shoulders, hips, and neck.
  • Helps with headaches, back pain, sciatica, and PMS.
  • Purge the digestive system.
  • Purges the body of waste products and excess heat.
  • revitalizes and lengthens the spinal column.


  • People with Heart, stomach or brain surgery should not do this asana.
  • Care should be exercised for those with peptic ulcer or hernia.
  • Those with serious spinal issues should stay away, while those with modest slipped discs may find relief.


At India Yoga School you’ll get to learn Ardha Matsyendrasana Pose under expert guidance in both our 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Goa and other yoga retreats. Contact us to learn yoga from top yoga teachers in India.