Physical & Mental Health Benefits Yoga Yoga Benefits

The Asana Clinic: Week Two

How to do this pose

Ardha Matsyendrasaa
  1. Sit up straight with your legs out in front of you (sitting against a wall may help you as you get used to this pose). Bend up your right knee and draw it in toward your chest as closely as you can – keeping your foot flat on the floor. Cradle the knee with your arms.
  2. Cross the right leg over the left leg, placing the sole of the right foot on the floor outside the left thigh – have the foot as close to the thigh as comfortably possible.
  3. Clasp the hands and hold on to the shin (just below the knee) to start with.
  4. Take a big inhalation and lengthen up through the spine (don’t slouch or sink down into the front leg) and really plant the buttocks down – like they are roots attaching you to the Earth.
  5. As you exhale, move the right hand off the knee and place it on the floor just behind you (near to your right buttock) – you can place your hand on a brick if this is more comfortable/you can’t quite reach the floor. Take the left arm and wrap it around your right leg, which should still be bent up. The knee should be in the crease of the arm (in front of the elbow) and the forearm wrapped and rested atop the outer edge of the thigh. Take another inhalation.
  6. On your exhalation, begin to twist from the abdomen. Continue to inhale and as you exhale, try to twist a little more – moving up from the abdomen. Imagine you are trying to rotate your vertebrae, starting with the lumbar vertebrae one at a time.
  7. The head should be the last thing to rotate around – we are trying to twist the spine, not merely turn the head.
  8. Hold the pose for 6-8 breaths – eventually progressing to a length of time that suits you (personally I like to close my eyes and hang out here for a few minutes at a time – I find this helps me to connect with my body and really loosens my lumbar spine up). When you are ready to release the pose, inhale and draw the belly button in toward the spine, release the arms and return to centre.

Counter Posture

To counteract this twist, simply leave the right leg bent and the left leg straight, then take the left arm out behind you and rest the right arm over the bent up knee and gently twist to look behind your left shoulder. This is not a twist as such, but a release for the spine.

Repeat by reversing the twist to the left and then de-rotating to the right, in your counter posture.

Please note that this asana is not recommended for those with spinal injuries or pregnant women.

About the author

Katie-Marie Fuller

Katie-Marie Fuller

Katie-Marie Fuller is a registered yoga teacher specialising in Hatha and Vinyasa yoga. Her approach to yoga is fuelled with intelligence and creativity, underpinned by ancient philosophy and spirituality. A master of the arts, Katie’s career history and education shine through in her creative, philosophically orientated classes. Currently studying for her diploma in anatomy and physiology, Katie is changing her career path with a view to practice yoga therapy full time. Residing in Staffordshire, you will hear Katie’s soft, eloquent tones reciting philosophical quotes in yoga studios around the county. Katie prides herself on her extensive education in art and Philosophy but emphasises Aristotle’s aphorism: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. Katie’s classes incorporate elements of Kundalini, Hatha and Yin yoga, often bound together in a vinyasa type flow.

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