Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half fish pose: A yoga asana to improve digestion and flexibility

Ardha Matsyendrasana or the Half Lord of the Fishes pose is good for gut health. Learn more benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana.
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Ardha Matsyendrasana can help to improve digestion. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 17 Mar 2024, 10:30 am IST
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Ardha Matsyendrasana or the Half Lord of the Fishes pose or Half Spinal Twist is a yoga asana that involves a deep twist while being seated. It targets your abdominal organs, so it can help improve digestion, and provide relief from bloating and constipation. It also improves spinal flexibility. You can practice Ardha Matsyendrasana on an empty stomach for better digestion and improved spinal flexibility. Know the health benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana and how to do it!

What is Ardha Matsyendrasana?

Ardha Matsyendrasana is a seated twisting yoga posture that offers numerous benefits for the body and mind. It is generally recommended to practice Ardha Matsyendrasana on an empty stomach or at least a few hours after eating. This helps prevent discomfort and allows for greater ease of movement during the pose. Doing it on an empty stomach also allows for better digestion and absorption of nutrients, says yoga expert Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar.

A woman doing Ardha Matsyendrasana
Ardha Matsyendrasana is also known as the Half Lord of the Fishes pose. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the health benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana?

Here are some of the benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana or the Half Fish Pose:

1. Improves spinal flexibility

Ardha Matsyendrasana stretches and strengthens the spine, improving its flexibility and mobility. This can help alleviate stiffness and discomfort in the back, especially in the lumbar region.

2. Improves digestion

The twisting motion of Ardha Matsyendrasana massages the abdominal organs, including the stomach, liver, and intestines. This can help stimulate digestion and relieve digestive issues such as bloating and constipation, says the expert.

3. Strengthens core muscles

Holding the twist in this pose engages the core muscles. Regular practice can help tone and strengthen these muscles, improving overall core stability.

4. Stimulates detoxification

The twisting action of Ardha Matsyendrasana stimulates the organs of detoxification, such as the liver and kidneys, helping to flush out toxins and waste products from the body. This can contribute to overall health and well-being.

5. Enhances blood circulation

Twisting poses like Ardha Matsyendrasana can help improve blood circulation by compressing and releasing blood vessels in the torso. This can increase blood flow to the organs and tissues, delivering oxygen and nutrients more efficiently throughout the body.

6. Relieves stress and anxiety

Ardha Matsyendrasana can have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. The deep breathing and gentle twisting motions can help quiet the mind and promote relaxation.

7. Improves posture

Regular practice of Ardha Matsyendrasana can help improve posture by strengthening the muscles of the back and core. By sitting up tall and lengthening the spine, this pose encourages proper alignment and reduces the risk of slouching or hunching.


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How to do Ardha Matsyendrasana?

Follow these steps to do this yoga asana for digestion and more:

  • Begin doing this asana by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the ground.
  • Place your left foot under your right leg while you keep your left leg bent with the sole of your foot on the floor.
  • Bring your right foot over your left leg and place it on the floor outside your left hip. Your right knee should be pointing directly up.
  • Inhale and lengthen your spine.
  • As you exhale, twist your torso to the right, placing your left elbow on the outside of your right knee.
  • Use your right hand to support your weight behind you, keeping your spine tall.
  • Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds and breathe deeply.
  • To release, exhale and unwind the twist, returning to the starting position.

Who should avoid doing Ardha Matsyendrasana?

Ardha Matsyendrasana can be beneficial to many, but there are certain people should avoid practicing it.

A woman sitting and twisting
Ardha Matsyendrasana should be avoided by some people. Image courtesy: Freepik

1. Pregnant women

Pregnant women should avoid deep twisting poses like Ardha Matsyendrasana, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, says Akshar. Twisting poses can put pressure on the abdomen and may restrict blood flow to the uterus, potentially harming the baby.

2. People with spinal injuries

People with spinal injuries or conditions such as herniated discs should avoid or modify Ardha Matsyendrasana. Twisting poses can exacerbate existing spinal issues and may cause further injury or discomfort.

3. Recent abdominal surgery

People who have undergone recent abdominal surgery should avoid deep twisting poses like Ardha Matsyendrasana until they have fully recovered. Twisting movements can strain the abdominal muscles and interfere with the healing process.

4. High blood pressure

Those with uncontrolled high blood pressure should exercise caution while practicing Ardha Matsyendrasana. The twisting motion can temporarily increase blood pressure, says the expert.

Just be mindful of these points then you can safely enjoy the benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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