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Lord of the Fishes / Seated Spinal Twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana

Pose Summary

This is a challenging seated pose with a beautiful and releasing twist. If you find difficulty entering the full pose read the modifications for some options to play and explore the pose or to enter Half Lord of the Fishes pose.

Yoga Collective - Lord of the Fishes / Seated Spinal Twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana


Step 1

Start in Dandasana.

Step 2

Fold your left leg into Ardha Padmasana, ie. Half Lotus pose. Ensure that the left knee stays grounded. Grab your left calf muscles and rotate them outwards to create space for your knee and leg to fold comfortably.

Step 3

Pull your right knee up towards your chest. Ground the right foot outside of the left knee.

Step 4

Ground your right hand on the floor. Inhale and lift the left hand up towards the sky.

Step 5

Start twisting towards the right starting from your lower ribs, upper chest, shoulders and lastly your head looking back. Simultaneously place the left elbow outside the right knee and reach your left hand to grab the top of your right foot.

Step 6

Take a deep breath in and on the exhale swing your right hand behind your back and try to reach for your left shin.

Step 7

Draw your shoulders down and press into the big toe of your right foot to support the twisting action of your upper torso. Take a few deep breaths, release and change side when done.


If the left knee lifts up but still want to get a feeling for the pose you can place a block underneath.

If you struggle to bring the left hand down onto your right foot outside the left knee you can hook the left elbow outside the right knee and stay there.

If this pose is too challenging try the lighter variation of Half Lord of the Fishes pose. Bend both knees, tuck in the left foot next to your right hip, thigh and knee grounded and place the right food outside the left knee.


  • Promotes mobility of the spine and provides a beautiful relief if suffering from back problems.
  • Massages the abdominal muscles improving digestion and preventing constipation.
  • Opens the shoulders.
  • Stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin hence the pose is beneficial for people with diabetes.


  • Avoid the full pose if suffering from knee or ankle problems
  • Avoid this pose if pregnant