Spinal Twist Pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana - Spinal Twist Pose

Spinal Twist Pose — Ardha Matsyendrasana

One of the most basic and yet powerful poses in yoga, the simple seated spinal twist. “Ardha” means half, and “matsya” means fish, and “Indra” means lord or King. The pose was named after the great yogi Matsyendranath. Spinal twists keep the spine healthy, and also massage the internal organs and abdomen. Twisting helps us release toxins, and twists are especially beneficial during the change of seasons. No matter what the season, twist into Ardha Matsyendrasana and release your limitations.

POSE TYPE
Seated pose

POSE CATEGORY
Twist
Hip-opening

ORIGIN
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Gheranda Samhita

SANSKRIT
Ardha Matsyendrasana
अर्धमत्स्येन्द्रासन

PRONUNCIATION
Are-dah-mAt-see-en-DRAHS-anna

TRANSLATION
Half (Ardha) Fish (Matsya) Lord (Yendra)
(Half) Spinal Twist Pose / Lord of the Fish Pose.

Performance

STARTING
Sitting with the spine straight, the left leg is folded and placed flat on the floor. The left knee is pointing forward, and the left heel is placed directly next to the right buttock. The right leg is folded, and the right foot is placed on the left side of the left knee.

ENTERING
Twist the entire torso and spine toward the right side. Place the left elbow directly next to the right knee. The arm is kept straight so that the left hand can catch hold of the right foot or ankle.
The right arm is wrapped around the torso, with the hand placed in the area of the waist. Initially use the breath to improve the posture: Straighten and lengthen the spine while inhaling, twist further while exhaling, repeat 2-3 times.
Finally twist the head as much as possible to the right side.

RELEASING
Carefully release the position of the arms and the twist of the spine. Lastly, move the legs into a neutral sitting posture.

ALTERNATING
Repeat on the other side for the same duration, twisting in a counter-clockwise direction toward the left.

Effects

PHYSIOLOGICAL
– Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck.
– Tones the nerves of the spine, and makes the back muscles supple.
– Massages the abdominal organs.
– Stimulates the liver and kidneys.
– Regulates the secretion of adrenaline, bile, and insulin.

ENERGETIC
– Activates the Throat Chakra.
– Energizes the spine.
– Unifies the subtle breaths of Prana and Apana Vayu in Sushumna Nadi.
– Kundalini Shakti can be activated in advanced stages of the practice.
– Stabilizes Soma Chakra.

PSYCHOLOGICAL
– Refines the mind.
– Reduces fatigue.

Contra-Indications

– Peptic ulcer.
– Hernia.
– Hyperthyroidism.
– Slipped discs.
– Back or spine injury: requires supervision of an experienced teacher.
– Second trimester of pregnancy.

Chakra Correlation

Vishuddha - Throat Chakra

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