Seated Half Spinal Twist - Ardha Matsyendrasana

The basic difference between yogic exercises and other exercises is that physical exercises for the most part stress on fierce movement of the muscles. This leads to production of large quantities of lactic acid in the muscle fibres, resulting in fatigue.

Yogic asanas are performed slowly, decreasing the production of lactic acid. Whatever is produced is neutralized by the increased intake of oxygen during the associated deep breathing.


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Half Spinal Twist Pose

Half Spinal Twist Pose or Ardha Matsyendrasana is named after an ancient yoga teacher Matsyendra. Half Spinal Twist is one of the basic yogic asanas, and it provides a lateral stretch to the spine, vertebrae, muscles and hips.


Half Spinal Twist Pose steps are as follows:

  1. Sit down on the ground with your legs crossed. Then, slowly extend your legs out in in front of you; toes pointing toward the ceiling.
  2. Bend your right leg and place the right foot firm on the ground, near the left knee.
  3. Place the right arm on the ground behind the back. Raise the left arm up.
  4. Take the left arm above the right knee. Stretch over to grip the right ankle.
  5. Sustain the pose for at least 30 seconds. Gradually, increase the time to one minute.
  6. Release and repeat on the other side.


Half Spinal Twist Pose precautions include:

  • Do not lift buttocks off the ground.
  • Do not lean the body. This constricts the spine instead of giving it a lateral twist.
  • Do not drop the shoulders.
  • Do not let the arm hang freely. Clasp the opposite ankle.
  • Avoid this pose during menstruation and pregnancy.
  • People with hernia or peptic ulcer should be careful while performing this pose.
  • People with severe back or spinal problems should practise this pose under expert supervision.

Beginner’s Tip

The Half Spinal Twist is one of the easier poses in yoga that is included in a beginner’s yoga routine. As such, there is no beginner’s tip for this pose.

Benefits to Body Parts

The benefits of the Half Spinal Twist are abundant and diverse. However, the most valuable benefit of the pose is the lateral twist in the spine. A healthy spine is vital to the complete well being of the body.

Some of the mental and physical benefits of the Half Spinal Twist mentioned below.

  • The Half Spinal Twist maintains the fluidity and flexibility in the spine. The vertebrae turn in both directions.
  • The ligaments linked to the spine receive increased supply of blood.
  • This lateral stretching helps to alleviate lower back pain and fibrositis of the back and hips.
  • The Half Spinal Twist eliminates the irritation and the soreness in the joints.
  • The increase in the lubricant fluids energizes the joints.
  • The Half Spinal Twist pose tones the spinal nerve roots and increases the blood supply. The process activates the sweat glands, increases the heart rate, and encourages the liver to discharge the glucose.
  • The Half Spinal Twist accelerates the circulation and regulates the breathing.

  • Regular practice of the Half Spinal Twist composes the abdominal muscles. The large intestine is vitalized.
  • This releases the toxins in the digestive tract and provides relief in conditions like constipation and dyspepsia.
  • The Half Spinal Twist pose stimulates the gastric juices and builds a healthy appetite.
  • The Half Spinal Twist benefits the kidneys, spleen gall bladder, bowels and the liver.
  • The Half Spinal Twist pose augments the vigour and vitality, consequently preventing innumerable diseases.
  • The Half spinal Twist helps correct nerve disorders.
  • The asana helps to calm the mind.
  • For women, the pose improves the health of the urinary system and reproductive organs by increasing the circulation to the pelvic region, thereby supplying oxygen, nutrients, and blood to the area.
  • The pose helps prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Regular practice helps reduce menstrual disorders.

Therapeutic Applications

  • Constipation
  • Sciatica
  • Diabetes
  • Cervical Spondylitis
  • Anorexia
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Indigestion


Variations to the pose either aim to intensify the pose or make it easy for beginners. Given below are two variations to the Half Spinal Twist.

  • Sit upright with legs together straight out in front of the body. Bend the right knee, and place the right foot flat against the floor on the outer side of the left leg. Settle the right arm on the floor behind the back and raise the left arm up. Position the left arm over the right of the right knee and grip the right ankle. Look over the right shoulder. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Perform Half Spinal Twist Pose (Steps 1 to 5). Then, inhale and try to extend your spine upwards. Exhale and twist your torso around the spine, right from the crown to the tailbone. Bend the left elbow and tie your left arm underneath the right knee. Place the left hand near the right hip. Lean forward a little and adjust your shoulder to make it easier. Bring the right arm behind and fasten the hands. If possible, hold the left wrist with your right hand. Look over your shoulder and twist deeper. Keep the right foot firm on the floor and the torso long. Hold this position for a minute. Exhale and release your torso. Repeat on the opposite side

Preparatory Poses

Preparatory poses for the Half Spinal Twist Pose include:

  • Headstand (Sirasana)
  • Half Headstand (Ardha Adhomukho Vrksasana)
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adhomukha Svanasana)
  • Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)
  • Cobbler’s Pose (Baddha Konasana)
  • Simple Seated Twist (Bharadvajasana)
  • Head-to-knee Pose (Janusirsasana)
  • Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)
  • Hero Pose (Virasana)

Follow Up Poses

Follow up poses for the Half Spinal Twist Pose are as follows:

  • Seated Forward Bend (Pashimottanasana)
  • Head-to-knee Pose (Janusirsasna)

The Half Spinal Twist pose is greatly advantageous to the back and the spine. If done properly, it rejuvenates the entire abdominal area and strengthens the digestive system. Moreover, yoga is a gentle exercise, and every pose should be done with ease and comfort. While performing the twist, it is important not to jerk the body or make fast actions.

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