The Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, or Ardha Matsyendrasana, offers a great spinal twist while massaging the abdominal organs, improving their function. It actively lengthens the tailbone, stretches the hips and engages the muscles of the core and the back at the same time. Demanding great balance, it also brings peace to the mind and has a soothing effect on the nervous system.
1.) Sit down on the mat with a straight back and straightened legs.
2.) Bend one leg at the knee forming a 90-degree angle and put the foot of the lifted leg on the other side of the second leg. Foot pressing flat onto the ground, bring the shin of the unbent leg as close to the thigh as possible.
3.) On a big inhale, twist your spine to the side of the bent leg. While doing so, let your spine follow your arm which reaches behind your back. Rest the fingers of that arm on the ground, spread widely, pressing lightly onto the ground. Raise your opposite, second arm.
4.) Bend the second arm at the elbow and put the elbow closely on the outer side of the bent knee. Release the air with a deep exhale. Look in the direction of your arm, behind the back.
5.) Repeat on the other side.
Half Lord of the Fishes is a really great hip opener which can prepare you for performing more advanced poses demanding flexibility. At the same time, it stretches the hamstrings and the psoas muscle.
Twisting lengthens the spine as well as the tailbone which supports a healthy position of the anatomical structures in the area. It is also considered detoxifying.
Since the Half Lord of the Fishes pose allows the chest to align with the twist of the spine, stretching the muscles of the shoulder girdle and the neck lets create a lot of space in the upper body.
Twisting in such a complex pose demands inner balance, focus and calmness which results in sharper awareness and intent. The pose delivers the body a sort of a massage while one needs to synchronize the breath with their movements, providing additional benefits. Any tension, discomfort or pain is released.
To deepen the stretch in the shoulder girdle as well as create even more space in the upper body, you can do this simple variation of the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose. Namely, starting from the standard position, just thread the forearm of the opposite arm under the knee of the bent leg. You can try catching the second arm with the fingers or even intertwine the fingers of both hands while your face still looks behind the back. Such a variation also deepens the twist of the spine a little bit.
Starting from the standard position, bring the foot of the bent leg back so that the toes are at the level of the knee of the opposite leg. Bend forward at the level of the hips as much as you can while you reach behind the bent legs with both arms at the same time. Intertwine the fingers or grab the wrist of the opposite arm with one hand to secure the stretch. Your face can even touch the ground in this variation. The deeper the bending, the deeper the hip opening.