4. Yoga Practice

Yoga Pose: Ardha Matsyendrasana


Ardha Matsyendrasana – Half Lord of the Fishes Seated Spinal Twist


  • Begin in Dandasana – Seated Staff pose
  • Bend the right leg planting the right foot on the outside of the left knee
  • Bend the left leg bringing the side of the left foot to the right side of the right hip
  • Bring the right hand or fingertips of the right hand behind the body close to the buttocks
  • Extend the left arm upright and turning to the right, bend the left arm bringing the elbow to the outside of the right knee
  • Twist and turn to the right with the head facing the right or turning the head to look back
  • Hold for five breaths as a beginner and longer for a more advanced practitioner
  • On releasing, drop the chin to the collarbone, slowly roll the chin along the collarbone bringing the head forward and into neutral position – a safe option for protecting the neck in twisting poses
  • On inhalation release the twist
  • Return to Dandasana
  • Repeat on left hand side for same amount of time

Ardha Matysendrasana bent arm

Pratikryasana / Counterpose:

  • Dandasana
  • Pashimottanasana – if no lower back issues are present
  • Kurmanasana – Tortoise –forward bend with bent and relaxed legs – ideal for lower back pain conditions

DandasanaPaschimottanasana 2Kurmasana


  • A deeper twist than Marichyasana III twist and works more in the lower part of the body than Marichyasana III which mainly focuses on the upper part of the body
  • The twist of the spine helps to relieve back ache , stiffness and tension in the back muscles
  • Tones, activates and massages the abdominal organs
  • Improves circulation to the abdominal organs
  • Helps to massage and remove toxins from the abdominal organs
  • Assists with and improves digestion
  • Improves flexibility of the spine, shoulders and the hips

Cautions & Modifications:

  • If the full pose is too challenging on the hips or knees, keep the left leg straight when twisting to the right and vice versa for the opposite side
  • One can place a small rolled towel under the one or both knees if there is slight discomfort in the knees
  • If there is too much strain on the knees rather omit practicing the pose
  • If the bent arm against the bent leg is uncomfortable on the shoulder, one can straighten the arm or one can hug the bent leg towards the chest
  • As an advanced pose or if flexibility allows, e.g. when twisting to the right, slip the left hand between both thighs and move the right hand behind the back to grip  the right wrist or clasp the fingers of the hands together behind the back
  • The body may be lopsided when positioning in the full pose, to level the hips place a block under the one buttock e.g. if twisting to the right place the block under the left buttock only. Swap the block to the other side when twisting to the left
  • Keep the head and neck facing forward for any niggling neck issues

Ardha Matsyendrasna variation

Chakra Association:

Svadisthana ~ Sacral Centre and Manipura~ Navel Centre.

Wishing you health and healing.

Much Love and Blessings,


Juanita Caprari is a certified Yoga teacher and Public Relations Practitioner. She started her Yoga practice in 2002. She has completed two Yoga Teacher Training Courses, one through Ananda Kutir Ashram as well as a post graduate & master course and an advanced teacher training module with Jim Harrington in Rishikesh, India. She has been teaching Yoga since 2007. jcaprari@mweb.co.za or visit the website www.yogawithjuanita.com or www.facebook.com/yogawithjuanita