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Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Fish Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

By Dr. Himani Bisht +2 more

Introduction 

After covid, most of us feel tired and lack motivation to do much physical work.  Doing yoga in these difficult times has helped countless people.   

ardha matsyendrasana

Old school exercises like yoga are gaining new-found respect in today’s world. Yoga integrates our body with the mind and environment. You eventually start to gain control over your body. A strong mind and a fit body may protect an individual from several illnesses.  In this busy schedule of work from home or any other office work, remove some time, stretch your spine by doing ardha matsyendrasana. All you need is a mat and your body to get started with this!  

What is Ardha Matsyendrasana? 

Ardha matsyendrasana, or the ‘Lord of the Fishes’ pose, is named after Matsyendranath, a ninth-century yogi and founder of Hatha yoga. Its name comes from the Sanskrit language. Ardha means half, matsya means fish, eendra means king, and asana means posture. It was named after a yogi-fish called matsyendrasana, who was transformed into a human body by Lord shiva. 

This asana is known for twisting and rotating the spine.1 

Asanas such as halasana and paschimottanasana bend the spine forward and bhujangasana, dhanurasana, salabhasana bend the spine backward. However, for complete flexibility of the spine, it should also be bent sideways. This will ensure an increase in the elasticity of the spinal column.2 

Also Read: Benefits of Savasana (Corpse Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

How to do it? 

We must follow proper techniques to do any asana, including ardha matsyendrasana. The steps to do ardha matsyendrasana are as follows: 

  • Sit down with your legs straight and relax the entire body.  
  • Bend the left leg and put the left heel near the right buttock. 
  • Put the sole of the right foot flat on the ground outside of the left knee. 
  • Both buttocks should remain on the mat. You can use a blank or a foam block. 
  • The back should be relaxed and upright. 
  • Now, put the left arm outside the right knee and hold the right ankle. Beginners can go slow; it is alright if you are unable to hold your ankle. 
  • Turn the upper body to the right as far as comfortable. While putting the right arm across the back, look over the right shoulder. 
  • Stay in this position for a few minutes while breathing normally and relaxing the entire body.  
  • Gently return to the starting position. 
  • Now, do the exercise on the other side.3  

Do You Know? 

Practising Ardha Matsyendrasana can put pressure on abdominal muscles and the large intestine. Therefore, it might give relief from gastric issues like constipation, indigestion, etc.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Yoga is considered a great form of exercise as it not only tones our body but brings overall fitness. Some of the take-home trivia about ardha matsyendrasana are: 

  • Ardha matsyendrasana is considered a nightmare for obese individuals as they find it difficult to bend their knee and pull it to the chest because their belly restricts them. However, it is one of the best exercises to help lower excessive fat.4 
  • Matsyendra is known to be the disciple of lord Shiva. Someday Shiva departed for an isolated island, where he educated Parvati on the mystery of yoga. There was a fish near the shore who was hearing everything. Lord Shiva’s heart filled with mercy and put some water on the yogi-fish; the fish became a siddha yogi with a God-like body, and that fish was called matsyendra (literally translating as fish-God).2  
  • Ardha matsyendrasana is different from matsyendrasana. Matsyendrasana is a full spinal twist and the back foot rests on the thigh, but in ardha matsyendrasana the back foot rests on the mat. 

Also Read: Benefits of Balasana (Child’s Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana: 

Ardha matsyendrasana is considered one of the beneficial asanas that may positively impact the spiritual body. Some of the potential benefits of ardha matsyendrasana include: 

1. Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana for Obesity: 

Obesity has become one of the most dominant lifestyle diseases in urban society. Obesity and excessive body weight may be linked to several diseases, mainly heart-related diseases, obstructive sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and certain types of cancer. Ardha matsyendrasana, along with other yoga asanas, might help get rid of excessive fat.5,6 

2. Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana for Diabetes: 

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the sugar level in the body increases due to a defect in the secretion of insulin, insulin action or both. In a study, the asana ardha matsyendrasana was done by 100 people with type 2 diabetes to check its beneficial effects. Its results showed that ardha matsyendrasana might effectively lower the sugar level in patients with diabetes mellitus. However, more studies are needed to check its effectiveness.7  

3. Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana for Kidney Disorders: 

Kidney disorders indicate an abnormality in the kidney, which is caused due to the damaged tiny blood vessels present within the nephron (smaller filtration units that make up the kidney). These tiny blood vessels maintain the water level in the body and filter waste. Several conditions might cause this including diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, etc. Ardha matsyendrasana may positively stimulate the kidney and liverto remove the waste, excessive heat and purify the blood and internal organs.  It may also improve the body’s immunity.8 

4. Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana for Respiratory Disorders: 

Many people take breathing for granted, except individuals with severe asthma. Asthma is a long-term disease of the respiratory system that affects the airways and lungs with insufficient oxygen supply to the lungs. Studies have reported that exercise may improve breathing and quality of life along with medicines. Ardha matsyendrasana is one of the asanas that may stretch your chest and open up the airways. More oxygen may enter the lungs and improve the lung’s oxygen capacity. Therefore, doing ardha matsyendrasana might be helpful for asthma; however, more research is needed to confirm this claim.9 

5. Benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana for Spine Disorder: 

Asanas may help relieve skeletal and muscular pain in the back and lower part of the body and increases the flexibility and agility of the body. Ardha matsyendrasana and pawanmuktasana (also called wind-relieving pose in which both the legs are bent at the knees when lying down on your back, knees touching the chest) may improve spine elasticity, nerve tonicity, and spinal cord functioning. It may also relieve the stiffness in the spinal cord and back pain and increase the blood circulation of the pelvic area. Practising ardha matsyendrasana may correct the postural defects, spine alignment and muscle stiffness. However, consult your doctor before starting with ardha matsyendrasana.10 

Yoga practice may help develop the mind and body; however, it is still not an alternative to modern medicine. Therefore, you must not rely on yoga alone to treat any condition. Instead, please consult a qualified doctor who will be able to assess your situation correctly and advise accordingly. Moreover, it is necessary to practice and learn yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to avoid any injuries.  

Also Read: Benefits of Pawanamuktasana (Gas Release Yoga Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

When you practice Ardha Matsyendrasana (half-spinal pose) along with Dhanurasana (bow pose), Vakrasana (twisted pose) works wonderfully in compressing abdominal muscles and might stimulate hormonal or pancreatic secretions.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Risks of Exercise: 

Some contraindications related to ardha matsyendrasana are: 

  • Individuals with a hernia or a peptic ulcer should not do this asana. 
  • Individuals with spinal issues should avoid this asana. This asana may benefit individuals with a mild slipped disc, but please avoid or consult your doctor prior to starting. 
  • Women who are pregnant or menstruating should avoid ardha matsyendrasana.1 

It is essential that you do ardha matsyendrasana under the guidance of experienced and qualified yoga teacher. You should know all the risk factors before practising ardha matsyendrasana. 

Conclusion 

Ardha matsyendrasana is one of the best asanas that may help the body to improve the flexibility and agility. It has many benefits for the spine, kidney, urinary tract, heart, liver, etc. However, while practising this asana, you must keep all the precautions in mind and maintain a good posture. Doing ardha matsyendrasana correctly is crucial to extract all its benefits. Therefore, it would be best to practise this asana under a qualified yoga expert to avoid mishaps.  

Also Read: Benefits of Matsyasana (Fish Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is ardha matsyendrasana? 

Ardha matsyendrasana/ lord of the fish pose is one of the common yoga asanas for twisting and rotating the spine to make the body more flexible.1 

What are the steps of ardha matsyendrasana? 

The steps of ardha matsyendrasana are:  
> Sit down with the legs straight 
> Relax the body 
> Bend the left leg & place the left heel near the right buttock 
> Put the sole of the right foot flat on the mat 
> Both buttocks should remain on the ground 
> Keep the back straight 
> Put the left arm to the outside of the right knee and hold the right ankle 
> Turn the upper body to the right and look over the right shoulder 
> Stay in this position for a few minutes meanwhile breathe normally and relax the entire body 
> Slowly return to the starting position 
> Repeat on the other side.3  

What are the benefits of ardha matsyendrasana? 

Ardha matsyendrasana may have several benefits on the body. It strengthens the spine, increases flexibility, improves digestion, removes toxins, cleanses the body, decreases fatigue, and stimulates the heart, liver, lungs, kidney and spleen for better function.1 

Is ardha matsyendrasana good for diabetes? 

In a study, ardha matsyendrasana was reported to lower the sugar level and might benefit diabetes. However, more research is required to confirm that this asana helps diabetes.7 

How many times should I do ardha matsyendrasana? 

You must practise ardha matsyendrasana after consulting an expert yoga professional. They will analyse and advise you on the proper frequency. 

References: 

  1. Medicine YI. Ardha Matsyendrasana – lord of the fish pose [Internet]. Worlds First Conference In US On Role Of Yoga And Meditation In Health And Medicine. 2021. Available from: https://www.meditationconference.org/ardha-matsyendrasana-lord-of-the-fish-pose    
  1. Ardhamatsyendrasana. The Devine Life Society. Available from: https://www.sivanandaonline.org/?cmd=displaysection§ion_id=1257    
  1. Ardha Matsyendrasana. Yoga in Daily Life. Available from: https://www.yogaindailylife.org/system/en/level-5/ardha-matsyendrasana    
  1. Ardha Matsyendrasana, The Half-Spinal Twist – Teaching Yoga for Round Bodies [Internet]. Expandinglight.org. 2022 [cited 12 September 2022]. Available from: https://www.expandinglight.org/free/yoga-teacher/round-bodies/ardha-matsyendrasana.php  
  1. Joshi S, Deole Y, Vyas GH, Dash SC. [Internet]. Management of overweight and obesity through specific yogic procedures. 2009 [cited 2022Sep12]. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yogesh-Deole/publication/265026464_Management_of_Overweight_and_Obesity_through_specific_Yogic_procedures/links/54f8124b0cf210398e940ed7/Management-of-Overweight-and-Obesity-through-specific-Yogic-procedures.pdf   
  1. Dandawate RR, Dandawate SR, Gholap A, Ghuge RB. [Internet]. MAGIC OF AYURVEDA AD YOGA: A OVERVIEW. Pharmacologyonline.silae; 2010 [cited 2022Sep12]. Available from: https://pharmacologyonline.silae.it/files/newsletter/2010/vol1/88.Sunita.pdf    
  1. Tamilselvi G. The immediate effect of Ardha Matsyendrasana on blood glucose level in type II diabetics [Internet]. EPrints@Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University. 2020 [cited 2022Sep12]. Available from: http://repository-tnmgrmu.ac.in/18623/    
  1. MAURYA HARIKESH, KUMAR TIRATH. [Internet]. A REVIEW ON COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW IN THE MANAGEMENT OF NEPHROTIC DISORDERS. Journal of Critical Reviews; 2016. Available from: http://www.jcreview.com/admin/Uploads/Files/61c71a7e5b9964.49413280.pdf    
  1. Vagh DMG. [Internet]. Influence of yogic breathing on Asthma: The respiratory disorder. International Journal of Yogic, Human Movement and Sports Sciences; 2019. Available from: https://www.theyogicjournal.com/pdf/2019/vol4issue1/PartU/5-1-6-638.pdf   
  1. Arora D, Gogawale D, Patwardhan D. EFFICACY OF YOGASANA IN THE MANAGEMENT OF GRUDHRASI (SCIATICA) [Internet]. World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. 2019 [cited 12 September 2022]. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Manish-Arora-6/publication/331035235_EFFICACY_OF_YOGASANA_IN_THE_MANAGEMENT_OF_GRUDHRASI_SCIATICA/links/5c6256c0a6fdccb608bbb79e/EFFICACY-OF-YOGASANA-IN-THE-MANAGEMENT-OF-GRUDHRASI-SCIATICA.pdf  

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