Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose - Ardha Matsyendrasana

Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Half Lord of the Fishes Pose or Ardha Matsyendrasana, is named after the great yogi Matsyendranath who founded Hatha Yoga. The English name, Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, comes from the Sanskrit words ‘ardha’ = ‘half’, ‘matsya’ = ‘fish’, ‘eendra’ = ‘king’. This yoga pose has other variations and can be referred to as Half Spinal Twist Pose or Vakrasana (which means twist).

This yoga pose usually appears as a seated spinal twist with many variations and is one of the twelve basic yoga poses (asanas) in many systems of Hatha Yoga. In this yoga pose the spine gets its maximum twist at the upper back with the thighs placed over each other and with the support of the arms the torso gets its twist.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Begin seated with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs, right knee on top.
Step 2
Root down with your sitting bones to rebound up the length of your spine.
Step 3
Imagine a central axis running through your torso from your pelvic floor to the crown of your head.
Step 4
With each inhalation, emphasize both the length and the integrity of this axis; the column is straight and is not tilting or curving off to one side or another.
Step 5
Keeping your left leg in its current position, place your right foot to the outside of your left knee.
Step 6
Root down with your right big toe mound while simultaneously descending your right outer hip.
Step 7
Inhale, and take your left arm to the ceiling.
Step 8
Exhale, and hook your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Take your right hand to the floor outside of your right hip.
Step 9
Notice how your right knee tends to buckle into your midline; instead, press it to the right to create more resistance for the left elbow to work against.
Step 10
Inhale, finding more length along the central axis; exhale, and use that length to revolve deeper.
Step 11
Repeat on the other side.

Benefits and Contraindications


Stretched shoulders, hips, neck, and spine

Relief from fatigue, backache, and sciatica

Stimulated digestion and metabolism

Stimulated kidneys and liver

Relief form menstrual discomfort


Recent or chronic hip, back or shoulder injury or inflammation

Those with slip disc problems should avoid this pose completely.

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications, Props and Tips

  • Sit on a cushion or a blanket to be able to ground through both sitting bones and lengthen your spine. Keeping the spine long is your main focus in this pose.
  • Try the pose with your lower leg outstretched in front of you. This can help if you struggle to keep both sitting bones grounded.
  • Hugging your knee with your hand, instead of hooking the elbow behind it, is a perfectly good option.

Frequently Asked Questions


Top Preparatory Poses

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
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A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.