Ardha Matsyendrasana

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  • Sit with both legs stretched, heels together.
  • Place the palms on the floor by the side of the buttocks.
  • Make the spine, neck and head erect.
  • Close the eyes.

I. Starting position (Sthiti): Dandasana

II. Practice

  • Sit on the floor. Stretch the legs straight in front.
  • Bend the left knee and join the thigh and calf.
  • Raise the seat from the floor, rest the left foot under the buttocks and sit on the left foot so that the left heel rests under the left buttock. Place the foot that is used as a seat horizontal on the floor, the outer side of the ankle and the little toe of the foot resting on the ground.
  • Bend the right knee, lift the right leg from the floor, rest it by the outer side of the left thigh. Outer side of the right ankle touches the outer side of the left thigh on the floor. Right shin needs to be at right angles to the floor.
  • Twist the trunk at right angles to the right until the left armpit touches the outer side of the right thigh. Place the armpit over the right knee. Exhale. Stretch the left arm from the shoulder and turn it round the right knee. Bend the left elbow and move the left wrist to the back of the waist.
  • Lock the bent right knee by the left arm. There should not be any gap between the left armpit and bent right knee. Exhale  and move the trunk forward. Remain in this posture for a while.
  • Breathe out deeply and move back the right arm from the shoulder bending the right elbow and moving the right hand behind the waist. Hold it with your left hand or vice versa. In the beginning it might be difficult to hold the wrist but gradually it will become possible.
  • The neck can be turned to the left and gaze is directed over the left shoulder, or to the right with the gaze fixed at the center of the eyebrows.
  • Stay in this posture for about half a minute to a minute or as per capacity while breathing normally.
  • Slowly release the hands, remove the right foot from the floor and straighten the right  and then the left leg.
  • Come back to the initial position. Repeat the same, on the other side.

For beginners It might not be possible, in the beginning, to twist either arm around the opposite knee. Till that time, try and hold the opposite foot, keeping the arm straight at the elbow. If it is difficult to sit on the foot in the beginning, the person can sit on the floor instead


  • It is known to be beneficial for treating backaches.