Ardha Matsyendrasana usually appears as a seated spinal twist with many variations, and is one of the twelve basic asanas in many systems of Hatha Yoga. This is one of the few poses in the Basic Session that rotates the spine. Most bend the spinal column either backward or forward, but to become truly flexible it must be twisted laterally as well. The movement also tones the spinal nerves and ligaments, and improves the digestion.


Step 1 – Sit erect with your legs stretched out. Make sure that your feet are placed together and your spine is absolutely erect.
Step 2 – Fold your right leg such that the heel of the right foot lies next to the left hip.
Step 3 – Taking your left leg, fold it such that the left knee is stacked over the right knee and the left foot lies next to the right hip.
Step 4 – Now, lift your upper leg all the way up, such that the inner thigh presses against your abdomen.
Step 5 – Lift your right arm up, and pushing your leg towards your chest, press your right elbow against the knee, placing your palm on the ground next to your left foot.
Step 6 – Reaching all the way back with your left hand, twisting your upper body in the process, and set your gaze over your right shoulder. Make sure your spine is erect.
Step 7 – Hold the position for a few moments, before releasing your position by twisting back to the front, lifting your arm up and back down towards the ground, as shown in the video.
Step 8 – Changing the position of your legs, do the same with the other side.
Step 9 – Finally, relax into a baby position.


Increases the elasticity of the spine and tones the spinal nerves.
Stretches the muscles.
Helps to get relief in stiffness of vertebrae.
Massages the abdominal organs.
Regulates the secretion of digestive juices useful for different digestive disorders.


This asana must be avoided during pregnancy and menstruation as it entails a strong twist at the abdomen. People who have recently undergone abdominal, heart or brain surgeries, should not practice this asana. Those with a hernia or peptic ulcers must do this asana carefully and under the supervision of a certified yoga instructor. People who have a minor slipped disc problem will benefit from this asana. But they must do it under supervision, and with a doctor’s approval. If you have a severe spinal problem or a severe slipped disc problem, it is best to avoid this asana.

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