Asana of the Month: Half Lord of the Fishes (ardha matsyendrasana)

Half Lord of the Fishes pose works every part of your body.

There are many variations. If you cannot do the pose as shown, you can do a gentle variation (see photo below) placing your right hand on the floor behind your back and rest your left arm over your right knee with your hand pointed towards the ceiling. If this is still too extreme, you can extend one leg straight out as shown in the photo below.

Regardless which version you do, you will obtain the mental and physical benefits of the pose.

English Name: Half Lord of the Fishes

Sanskrit Name: Ardha Matsyendrasana

Difficulty Level: 3

Start Position: Easy Sitting


Step 1.

While in Easy Sitting, step your right foot in front of your bent left knee.

Step 2.

Hook your left elbow outside of your right thigh, keeping your sits bones on the floor.

Step 3.

Twist, looking over your left shoulder, and grab your right wrist with your left hand.

Step 4.

Stay in the pose as long as it feels comfortable, breathing normally, and then release and repeat on the other side.

Physical Benefits:

  • Opens up the hips
  • Improves knee flexibility
  • Lubricates knee joint
  • Relieve or prevent arthritis
  • Tones abdominal muscles
  • Improves digestion
  • Tones back and shoulder muscles

Mental Benefits

  • Focuses the mind
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces mild depression


  • Shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, or ankle injury
  • Back or spine injury

Gentle Variation