Half Lord of the Fishes Pose to Reset Your Spine

half lord of the fishes poseHalf Lord of the Fishes pose, also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana, sounds very exotic and elusive. However, if you’re like me, you’ll discover that this mysterious-sounding yoga pose has actually been a part of your stretching regimen. If you aren’t currently doing this stretch, you’ll want to add it to your daily routine ASAP.

Gentle spinal twists like Half Lord of the Fishes pose are wonderful for balancing the spine. These twists also serve as a reset button of sorts for the central nervous system.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

  1. Use ujjayi breathing.
  2. Begin in Dandasana.
  3. Make sure that your tissue is out of the way so you can feel your SITs bones press into the mat. You can do this by manually internally rotating your femurs (thigh bones) or by using your fingers to move the extra tissue of your tush out of the way.
  4. Press down through your SITs bones to feel your head reach toward the ceiling.
  5. Draw your belly button to your spine.
  6. Bend your right knee.
  7. Step your right foot so that it’s now on the outside of your left knee.
  8. Bend your left leg and bring your left foot toward your right butt cheek. Only do this if you are able to reconnect both SITs bones to the mat. If one of your SITs bones won’t reconnect, straighten your left leg and reconnect. It’s really important that you’re able to feel both SITs bones press into the mat.
  9. Press down through your SITs bones and feel yourself lift through the top of your head.
  10. Double check that your abdominals are still drawn toward your spine.
  11. Inhale and reach your left arm toward the ceiling to get a good stretch in your side body.
  12. Exhale and rotate toward the right. Let your right arm naturally reach to the floor behind you. Stay high on fingertips to help keep the right arm active. Bring the outside of the left arm to the outside of the right thigh, and bend the elbow. If your arm won’t meet your thigh, bend your left elbow and loop your arm around your right knee to facilitate your twist. Gaze over your right shoulder.
  13. Hold here and breathe for 5-8 breaths.
  14. To come out of this pose, keep your muscular energy as you unwind and return to Dandasana.
  15. Repeat steps 3-14 for the other side. Make sure that this time you bend the left knee and bring the outside of the right arm to the outside of the left thigh.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose Video

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Here is a video for visual learners.

What is your favorite easy spinal twist? Is it Half Lord of the Fishes pose? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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