How To Do Half Lord of the Fishes Pose: (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Half Lord of the Fishes pose is a seated yoga posture that includes twisting and binding elements. It will target your hips, torso, and shoulders. Let’s take a closer look at this yoga posture to develop a better understanding of its origin, how to practice the posture, and experience its physical benefits.
The Sanskrit word for this pose is Ardha Matsyendrasana (ar-dah maht-see-yahn-drah-sah-nah) and has an interesting history. The story comes from Hindu mythology recounting the story of Shiva, the Father of Yoga, explaining the mysteries of yoga to his partner, Parvati.
The two were sitting in a boat on a quiet lake. Shiva was sharing the teachings of yoga with Parvati. Little did he know, a fish in the lake was listening to the lesson. Once Shiva noticed the fish, he named him Matsyendra, a great lord and the first student of yoga.
As a yoga student yourself, you can embrace the nature of Matsyendra and practice this intermediate pose with great honor and poise.
Here is how to practice this seated twisting posture.
- Start by sitting on your yoga mat with your legs extended out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee and place your knee on the mat. Your right foot will be near your left hip.
- Step your left foot over your bent right knee. Use both hands on your left shin initially to sit up tall.
- Keep hold of your left knee with your right hand while you carefully rotate your torso to the left.
- Place your left hand behind you (near your hip) and press down on the mat. this will help you maintain a lengthened spine during the twist. As you are able, hook your right elbow on the outside of the bent left knee.
- Open your palm as if you were waving.
- To complete the rotation, slowly turn your head to the left.
- Hold the posture for 5 to 10 breaths. When you are complete, unwind the body, return to a neutral position, then repeat the posture on the other side.
How to Modify the Pose:
Because this posture involves a dynamic rotation and binding element, you may want to modify the pose to suit your body. For more comfort, you may sit on a folded blanket. To modify the twist you can do these two things. First, instead of stepping over the bent knee on the floor, you can keep the foot on the inside (closer to the shin). Second, instead of hooking your elbow on the outside of the bent knee, you may either hold onto that knee with your hand or hug the knee by wrapping your arm around it.
If you are pregnant, be mindful when you practice twisting and binding postures. Please consult with your physician when practicing certain yoga positions to ensure your health and safety.
If you have other bodily issues like arthritis or back pain, use props and practice modifications of the pose so you can move into them safely and experience the benefits.
How to Prepare for Half Lord of the Fishes:
Since this posture involves twists, hip work, and shoulder release, you will want to perform other warm-up-like postures to target these areas. Revolved Chair Pose and Revolved Easy Pose will prepare your torso for rotations. Bound Angle Pose and Happy Baby Pose will loosen your hips. Extended Mountain Pose, Warrior 1, and Warrior 2 Poses will provide mobility to your shoulders.
Related Article: The Enormous Benefits Of Having A Yoga Instructor As A Beginner Yogi
Benefits of the Pose:
If you’re looking to find release and greater mobility in your core, shoulders, and hips, practicing Half Lord of the Fishes will help you achieve that goal. It is also a posture that puts you into the mindset of a mindful yoga student. It is an introspective posture that expresses a sense of pride and devotion.