The Spine Twist

The Spine Twist, often referred to in yoga as Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose), is a seated spinal twist that offers numerous benefits to the practitioner. Let’s clarify the pose with a structured breakdown:


  1. Spinal Flexibility: The pose stretches the spine, helping to improve overall flexibility and posture.
  2. Hip and Shoulder Stretch: The twist provides a gentle opening for both the shoulders and the hips.
  3. Relief from Pain: It offers relief from lower backache, sciatica, and neck pain.
  4. Digestive Aid: The twisting action can massage the abdominal organs, potentially aiding in digestion.
  5. Stress Relief: Twisting poses can help alleviate stress and calm the mind.
  6. Potential Benefits for Pregnancy: Some pregnant women may find relief from certain back discomforts during their second trimester by practicing this pose under expert guidance.


  1. Starting Position: Begin seated on the floor with legs extended straight in front of you.
  2. Position the Legs: Shift your weight to your right hip, bending both knees, and swing your legs to the left. Stack your feet on the floor outside your left hip, with your right ankle nestled into the arch of the left foot.
  3. Twist Setup: Inhale to lengthen the spine, lifting the chest upward. As you exhale, begin to twist your torso to the right.
  4. Hand Placement: Place your left hand on your right knee or thigh and your right hand behind you, close to your right hip, for support.
  5. Deepen the Twist: Every inhale, lengthen the spine; every exhale, deepen the twist by gently turning your torso and head to the right.
  6. Duration: Maintain the twist, taking slow, deep breaths for 30 to 60 seconds.
  7. Release: Exhale to release the twist and return to the starting position.
  8. Other Side: Repeat the steps, twisting to the opposite side.


  • Blood Pressure: Individuals with high or low blood pressure should be cautious.
  • Menstruation: It’s traditionally recommended to avoid deep twists during menstruation.
  • Digestive Issues: Avoid practicing after a heavy meal or if experiencing diarrhea.
  • Insomnia & Headaches: Individuals experiencing insomnia or headaches might choose to skip or be cautious with this pose.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women should always consult with their healthcare provider and a trained prenatal yoga instructor before attempting any yoga poses.

As always, individual experiences with poses can vary, so it’s essential to listen to your body and consult with a qualified yoga instructor for personal guidance.

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