Seated Twist, Ardha Matsyendrasana, also called “Half Lord of the Fishes” is a spinal twist pose with many variations and is one of the twelve basic asanas in the system of Hatha Yoga. This pose stretches the shoulder, hip, and neck. It can be used as a hip opener. In general, twist poses are great to add to any yoga practice because they offer a wide range of benefits to the entire body. Twist poses increase your flexibility, calm your mind, relax your nervous system, improve digestion and cleanse your organs.
The Half Lord of the Fishes is used to energize the body. It can be very therapeutic for asthma and infertility. As with all twist poses, this seated twist can be used to relieve stress and restore balance to the mind, body, and spirit. Some of the benefits specifically to the Half Lord of the Fishes include stretching the shoulders, hips, and spine, relieving fatigue and body aches, and stimulating digestion and the body’s metabolism.
To do this pose you will of course have to be seated. Sit with your legs crossed placing one leg directly on top of the other. Bring your right leg up placing your right foot on the side of your left thigh and you will then tuck your left foot under your right leg, resting along the side of your buttock. With an inhale lift your hands above your head resting your torso against your thigh. While you exhale begin to twist your body to the right, placing your elbow against the outside of your knee. Keeping your forearm raised and your fingers spread and towards the ceiling. Use your other hand to support your spine by placing it directly behind you on the ground. As you continue to inhale and exhale deepening your breath, make your spine longer and your twist deeper. To release from this pose exhale and unwind from your torso. Come back to center and extend your legs in front of you. Repeat the twist on the other side