Ardha Matsyendrasana Yoga For Sleep | Half Spinal Twist

Ardha Matsyendrasana Yoga

What is Ardha Matsyendrasana Yoga?

Ardha Matsyendrasana, or twisted seated pose, is among the 12 basic poses of Hatha Yoga. Like other yoga poses, its name also has its origins in Sanskrit. The name is split up into four parts. They are:

  • Ardha: Half
  • Matsya: Fish
  • Indra: King
  • Asana: Pose

It can also be referred to by its English name, Half Lord of Fishes Pose. It also has the name Half Spinal Twist pose, as the person doing it twists half of the spine while performing the pose.   

Performing Ardha Matsyendrasana Steps:

  • Sit erect and stretch your legs out. Ensure that your feet are placed together, and your spine is straight.
  • The next step is to bend your left leg in a way that the heel of your left foot rests next to the right hip. Optionally, you could keep your left foot stretched. 
  • Now place the right leg near the left knee by taking it over the knee.
  • While keeping your spine erect, proceed to twist your waist, shoulders and neck to the right. Finally, turn your gaze over your right shoulder.
  • There are many ways in which you can place your arms that increase and decrease the level you stretch. A simple way would be to put your right hand behind you and the left hand on the right knee.  
  • Hold the pose for anything between 30-60 seconds as you take deep, slow breaths.
  • Wind up the pose by inhaling and, while keeping the right hand up, unlock your body from the previous posture. Now come to a neutral position and repeat the pose on the other side.

Ardha Matsyendrasana Details

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Style: Hatha Yoga
  • English Name: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose/Seated Twist Pose
  • Duration: 30 To 60 Seconds
  • Position: Sitting
  • Type: Twist, Stretch
  • Repetition: First, do the right side and then the left.
  • Stretches: Hips, Shoulders, Neck
  • Strengthens: Spine, Digestive System, Urinary System, Reproductive System

Ardha Matsyendrasana Benefits:

The many Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits extend to more than just the body. This particular asana also serves to keep your brain active and healthy.  

Listed here is a roundup of some of those benefits:

  • Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits both the body and mind. It is very beneficial and helps by making your upper body, shoulders, arms, and chest muscles stronger. 
  • One of the most essential Ardha Matsyendrasana benefit is that it assists in making the spine stronger and more flexible. This is an important asana to practice and is especially helpful  for people who sit for long hours at the office and lead sedentary lives. Regularly performing this asana ensures that the Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits of preventing lower back pain, stiffness and tension are taken in. All these help you to obtain a good posture naturally.  
  • As performing the Ardha Matsyendrasana procedure involves you twisting your legs, it helps make your ankles, hamstrings, calves, and knees both supple and flexible. The flexibility you get helps prevent injuries, while simultaneously curing joint pain, stiffness and spasms. 
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits the body with its steps to improve blood circulation. When there is improved blood circulation, your organs function optimally, body immunity is enhanced, and even wounds heal faster. Enhancement of blood circulation, aside from keeping your brain sharp, also reduces stress and anxiety, and prevents or delays the onset of age-related neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits also extend to help massage your internal organs such as the liver, spleen, and kidneys. This keeps them from getting afflicted with diseases and even balances and regulates your hormone production.
  • As the Ardha Matsyendrasana stimulates and strengthens the digestive system, this yoga pose helps prevent digestive problems such as constipation and indigestion.
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits the body by making the chest muscles stronger while simultaneously preventing cardiovascular disorders.
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits people who suffer from respiratory problems like asthma and pollen allergies. It helps prevent and manage Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. 
  • As this pose gently stretches the chest muscles while massaging the heart, it improves the blood circulation within the body. The spleen is also stimulated during the practice of this asana. Therefore the Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits you by purifying the blood and hastening the detoxification process of the blood.
  • This Ardha Matsyendrasana asana requires stretching of the pelvic regions. When the pelvic regions are stretched, there is an increase in the supply of blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the reproductive organs. Practising this pose can therefore improve a woman’s reproductive health. 
  • The practice of Ardha Matsyendrasana can be done at home with only a minimal setup without much investment in terms of equipment or studio space. This makes the practice of Ardha Matsyendrasana a great addition to your home workouts. 

Ardha Matsyendrasana for Better Sleep:

One should avoid any bedtime yoga that appears strenuous. As Ardha Matsyendrasana is a simple stretch pose that is nothing more than a seated spinal twist, it can be done just before heading to bed.  

The purpose behind doing this pose before sleeping is to create a sense of calm and relaxation. This can help you sleep better as the mind is already at ease.

Who can do Ardha Matsyendrasana?

The Ardha Matsyendrasana yoga pose can be tweaked to suit anyone according to their flexibility levels and age as well. The Ardha Matsyendrasana routine can be easily performed by:   

  • Seniors
  • Children 
  • People who are looking to cure their lower back problems.
  • Those who wish to improve their digestion.
  • People who want to lose weight.
  • People who want to strengthen their bodies.
  • Those who wish to improve their sleep patterns.

Who should avoid Ardha Matsyendrasana?

As is the case with any physical activity, no matter how mild it may seem, it may require you to take a medical opinion before undertaking it. It would be better to consult your doctor before doing the Ardha Matsyendrasana pose. 

If you are experiencing or have a history of any of the below conditions, remember to seek a professional opinion before doing the Ardha Matsyendrasana or any other form of yoga. 

  • Severe back, legs, shoulder, or neck pain.
  • Slip disc
  • Pregnancy
  • Abdominal problems
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Hernia

What are the variations of Ardha Matsyendrasana?

There are several variations of Ardha Matsyendrasana that can make your practice more manageable and will help you get the many Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits. Below are two of the variation you can adopt:

Variant #1: 

This Ardha Matsyendrasana yoga pose can be recommended as an easier variation of the traditional form of this asana. This variation can be practised by people who have knee problems and are unable to bend them. In this, you will need to extend your left leg straight ahead while bending your right knee in such a way so as to place the right foot next to your left knee. 

Place your right hand behind your body and raise your left hand. Turn your gaze backwards. Continue holding the pose for 30-40 seconds, switch to the other side, and repeat again for another 30-40 seconds. 

Variant #2: 

This is the second variant and is also an easier variation of the traditional procedure of Ardha Matsyendrasana. When doing this variation, you should proceed to keep a leg bent over the other leg and then place your foot outside of the opposite knee. Draw your left arm backwards and wrap it around the waist. Grab your right shin or ankle and hold on to your toe or sole of the left foot using your right hand.                                                                   

Also Read: Sleep Child Like With Balasana Yoga (Child’s Pose)


Ardha Matsyendrasana requires quite a bit of practice and is not an easy one, to begin with, unlike other asanas. Beginners are better off performing this yoga pose under the supervision of a yoga expert. 

But indeed, after the required levels of practice, doing this asana would become second nature and an easy one as well. 

Ardha Matsyendrasana benefits are many. It helps stimulate the digestive system, makes the spine supple, regulates the secretion of bile, is recommended for diabetic patients as a means of controlling blood sugar levels, improves blood circulation, detoxifies internal organs, strengthens the abdominal region, improves the etc. 

Authored By: Bhavishya Pahwa

About the Author : Bhavishya Pahwa is a budding writer who has always confided in a pen. He believes that art is a cure-all and that introspection followed by writing can add to the sanity of the world.

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