Ibiza yoga: How to do Ardha Matsyendrasana


Photography by Barbara Di Giacinto

POSE: Ardha Matsyendrasana

MEANING: Ardha means ‘half’ and Matsyendrasana translates to ‘lord of the fishes’ (matsy meaning fish and indra meaning lord. A legendary teacher of yoga.

BENEFITS: Think about this ‘twist’ posture as giving the organs (liver and kidneys) a good old squeeze out and detox every time you do it.

  • Also stimulates, stretches and energises the whole spine
  • Can aid symptoms of Sciatica


  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your knees, put your feet on the floor, then slide your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip.
  • Lay the outside of the left leg on the floor. Step the right foot over the left leg and stand it on the floor outside your left hip. The right knee will point directly up at the ceiling.
  • Exhale and twist toward the inside of the right thigh. Press the right hand against the floor just behind your right buttock, and set your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh near the knee. Pull your front torso and inner right thigh snugly together.
  • You can turn your head in one of two directions: continue the twist of the torso by turning it to the right; or counter the twist of the torso by turning it left and looking over the left shoulder at the right foot.
  • With every inhalation lift a little more through the sternum, pushing the fingers against the floor to help. Twist a little more with every exhalation. Be sure to distribute the twist evenly throughout the entire length of the spine; don’t concentrate it in the lower back.
  • Stay for 30 seconds to one minute, then release with an exhalation, return to the starting position, and repeat to the left for the same length of time.

HELPFUL HINT: Really try to connect with your breath to help you get deeper into the posture. Think about inhaling to lengthen the spine and to create space… and then exhale to twist a little further.

Previous pose: Padmasana (full lotus)