01 Jun Ardhamatsyendrasana – The Spinal Half-twist Posture
Maneuvering through the twists and turns of life I become self-aware and self-reliant.
This asana is named after the great sage Matsyendranatha, the guru of Gorakshantha, who is considered to be the founder of the Hatha Yoga tradition. Though yoga practices are ancient and date back several thousand years, the tradition of Hatha Yoga seems to have gained a greater momentum after the sage Matsyendranatha.
This asana provides an excellent twist to the spine.
Method of Practice:
- Sit with both your legs stretched out in front and your hands placed on the respective knees or sides on the floor, maintaining an erect posture.
For a twist on the right side,
- Fold your right leg inwards and press your heel against the perineum without allowing your knee to lift up.
- Take your right leg, bending it at the knee, crossing it across your left thigh and place your right foot near the outside of the left thigh and bring your right knee close to your chest.
- Bend the left leg at the knee inwards to place your foot close to your right hip.
- Laterally twisting the torso on the right side, let your left hand hold your right ankle/toe grasping the foot anywhere comfortably, in such a way that your right knee comes under your left armpit. Inhale.
- Exhaling, give more twist to your spine and place your right hand across your back with the palm facing outwards.
- Simultaneously turn your head and neck towards your right shoulder.
- Suspend the breath for six seconds maintaining the posture.
- Inhaling, untwist your torso, straighten your head and neck, bring your hands to the starting position, straighten your legs and prepare for practice on the opposite side.
For a twist on the left side,
Repeat the same steps as mentioned before but change the sides.
Note: This asana can be done both as a dynamic version as mentioned above or you can remain static in the position for a minute or two, alternating on each side, breathing normally.
Hypertension & cardiac ailments, hernia, pregnancy & peptic ulcers, and spinal injuries
- There is a lateral twisting of your spine.
- The suspension of breath during the twisted position improves the venous blood flow in your abdominal region.
- It tones and strengthens your abdominal muscles.
- It opens the shoulders, neck, and hips.
- It increases the flexibility of your hips and spine.
- Deep and superficial muscles of your spine are massaged.
- It tones the core muscles and also improves the health of your internal organs.
- It helps in the management of diabetes, colitis and cervical spondylitis.
- It relieves the spinal nerve from faulty habits of carriage.
- It helps in curing lumbago and muscular rheumatism.
- It is good for constipation and dyspepsia.
- It improves digestive efficiency.
- It helps in correcting the curvature of the spine.
- It helps in reducing respiratory problems like asthma.
- It increases concentration and alertness.
- It improves mental efficiency and increases optimism.
- It reduces mental fatigue while improving memory and concentration by improving the blood circulation in the brain.
- Sternomastoid, anterior abdominal wall muscles, rotators of the vertebral column
- Flexors of the knee, plantar flexors of the ankle and medial rotators of the hip
- Flexors and abductors of the shoulder, extensors of the wrists and elbows