Ardha means half. It is related that once Lord Siva went to a lonely place near the sea and explained to his consort Parvati the mysteries of Yoga. A fish near the shore heard everything with focus and remained still while listening. Siva, realized that the fish had learnt Yoga, sprinkled water upon it, and in a flash the fish gained divine form and became Matsyendra (Lord of the Fishes) and after that spread the knowledge of Yoga. Ardha Matsyendrasana is a milder version of that asana. Ardha Matsyendrasana details provided to you by YogaIQ.
1. Sit on the floor, with the legs extended straight in front. (Step 1)
2. angle the left knee joint and join the thigh and shin; hold up the seat from the floor, put the left leg under the buttocks and sit on the left leg so that the left heel rests under the left buttock. The leg used as the seat should be kept parallel to the floor, the outer side of the ankle and the little toe of the leg resting on the ground. If the leg is not so placed, it will be impossible to sit on it. stabilize securely in this position.
3. Then curve the right knee joint and lifting up the right foot from the floor, put it by the outer side of the left thigh so that the outer side of the right ankle touches the outer side of the left thigh on the floor. stabilize in this posture, keeping the right shin perpendicular to the floor. (Step 2).
4. Turn the trunk 90 degrees to the right until the left armpit touches the outer side of the right thigh. Bring the armpit over the right knee. (Step 3) Exhale, stretch the left arm from the shoulder and twist it round the right knee. Bend the left elbow and move the left wrist to the back of the waist.
5. The left arm should lock the bent right knee tightly and there should be no space between the left armpit and the bent right knee. To achieve this, exhale and move the trunk forward. Stay in this position and take 2 breaths.
6. Now breath out deeply and swing back the right arm from the shoulder, curve the right elbow joint, place the right hand behind the waist and either clutch it with the left hand or vice versa. At starting phase you will be able to catch a finger or two. eventually it will be possible to catch the palms and
then the wrists behind the back. (Step 4)
7. The neck may be turned to the left and the gaze directed over the left shoulder (Step5), or to the right, and the gaze fixed at the centre of the eyebrows. (Steps 6 and 7) The spinal twist will be greater if the neck is turned to the left than when to the right.
8. As the diaphragm is stretched by the spinal twist, the breathing will at first become short and fast. Do not be afraid. eventually the posture can be held from half a minute to a minute with normal breathing.
9. Release the hands, remove the right foot from the floor and straighten the right and then the left leg.
10. Continue the posture on the other side and hold it for the same period of time. Here, curve the right leg and sit on the right foot so that the right heel is under the right buttock. Place the left leg over the right leg and rest the left foot on the floor so that the outer side of the left ankle touches the outer side of the right thigh on the floor. Turn the trunk 90 degrees to the left, placing the right armpit over the left knee and twist the right arm round the left knee. stretch the right elbow joint and drag the right hand behind the waist. stay in the posture and take 2 breaths. Again breath out completely and swing the left arm back from the shoulder, bend the left elbow and clasp the hands behind the back at the wrist. Then release and relax.
11. In the starting phase it may not be possible to twist either arm round the opposite knee joint. In that case try to catch and hold the opposite foot, keeping the arm straight at the elbow joint. (Steps 8 and 9) It also takes time to catch and hold the hands behind the back. eventually, the backward stretch of the arms will increase, and one will be able to catch at first the fingers, next the palms, then the wrist and as the posture is mastered even the forearms above the wrists. Beginners who find it difficult to sit on the foot can sit on the floor. (Steps 10 and 11)
Ardha Matsyendrasana Calms the brain, Stretches the spine and shoulders, Stimulates abdominal organs like the liver and kidneys and Improves digestion. By the regular practice of Ardha Matsyendrasana, splitting backaches, lumbago and pains in the hips disappear rapidly. The liver and the spleen are contracted and so are toned and cease to be sluggish. The muscles of the neck gain power. Sprains in the shoulder and displacement of the shoulder joints are relieved and the shoulder movements become free. The intestines also benefit from Ardha Matsyendrasana.It also helps to reduce the size of the abdomen. But here as the range of movement is more intensified, the effects will also be greater. Here the lower part of the abdomen has the benefit of the exercise. The prostate and bladder are not enlarged if one practises regularly.