Ardha Matsyendrasana - The Half-Spinal Twist Pose
"Ardha" means 'half' in Sanskrit. In this pose we perform the half spinal twist as the full twist is very difficult to achieve. The asana gets its name from Matsyendranath, one of the propounders of Hatha Yoga.
- Sit in an erect position on the floor.
- Stretch out both legs in front of you.
- Bend the right leg and place the heel of the right foot in the perineum.
- Cross your left leg over your right knee and place it on the floor. The left foot should touch the floor.
- The heel of the left leg should be placed close to the right knee.
- Pass your right hand over the left calf and grasp the big toe of the left foot. The toe should be held with the thumb, index and middle finger.
- Slide your left hand behind the back and reach for the root of your right thigh.
- Turn your upper body towards the left.
- Get into the final position by turning your shoulder, neck and head towards the left. Align your chin with the left shoulder.
- Try looking farthest over your shoulder.
- Hold onto this position as long as you comfortably can.
- Slowly return to your starting posture.
- Repeat the same process with the opposite side.
- Hold the position as long as you are comfortable. If you feel pain, return to starting posture slowly.
- The pose massages the entire spine and makes it supple.
- As each vertebra rotates in this pose, it increases the flexibility of the spinal column, particularly of the lumbar region.