Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes)

Ardha MatsyendrasanaArdha Matsyendrasana

“ardha” = half

“Matsyendrasana” = Lord of the Fishes*

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Paripurna Matsyendrasana

“paripurna” = complete, full

Complete Lord of the Fishes Pose

* From a myth about a fish who learned yoga by listening as Lord Shiva explained yoga to Parvati. Shiva blessed the fish as Matsyendra, Lord of the Fishes. The fish then came on land and took the form of a seated twist that allowed full absorption of the teachings.

Heart of Pose



Paripurna vs Ardha Matsyendrasana*

  • Paripurna Matsyendrasana – Lower leg in Half Lotus; bind to foot of top leg
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana – Other variations, including foot of lower leg under sit bones or beside hip, binding around upper knee to clasped hands, or binding foot
* Source: B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga 1975 p 164

Ayurveda Perspective

Dr. David Frawley notes that the pose reduces VataPitta and Kapha while Joseph LePage says standing twists are more indicated for Kapha.**

  • Vata: Moderate holding, focus on grounding, stillness and breath
  • Pitta: Any holding, focus on non-efforting, easy grounding and breath
  • Kapha: Any holding, focus on lifting and breathing (or use standing twists instead)
** Joseph LePage, Yoga Teachers’ Toolbox 2005 p 43, Dr. David Frawley, Yoga for Your Type 2001 p 182

See Also