5. Ardha-matsyendra-asana – The Half Spinal Twist Pose
1. This posture relieves constipation and dyspepsia.
2. It promotes a healthy appetite and cures any enlargements and congestions in the liver and spleen.
3. It stimulates sluggish kidneys into functioning properly.
4. It massages all the organs in the abdomen.
5. It cures lumbago and muscular rheumatism in the muscles of the back.
6. It tones the spinal nerves and improves circulation.
7. It improves improves sciatica sciatica.
8. This posture is also a natural relief for pre‐menstrual syndrome and any menstrual discomfort.
This posture is traditionally called the Spinal Twist because the spinal column is twisted gently.
“Keeping the abdominal region at ease like the back, bending the left leg, place it on the right thigh; then place on this the elbow of the right hand, and place the face on the palm of the right hand, and fix the gaize between the eye-brows. This is called Matsyendraposture.” (Hatha-yoga-pradipika I.37)
Sit in any comfortable cross-legged position.
a. Straighten the legs out in front. Bend the right knee and bring the heel of the right foot close to the left hip.
b. Inhale and bend the left knee upward and place the left foot flat on the floor to the right of the right leg with the ankle touching the right thigh.
c. While turning the spine to the left straighten the right arm bringing it around to the outside of the left knee and grasp the left foot with the right hand.
d. Turn your head as far as possible to the left and bend the left arm behind your back. Keep your spine, neck and head aligned and continue to exert effort at turning to the left.
e. Repeat the posture the other side by reversing directions.
The Half Spinal Twist is one of the best Yoga postures for cultivating flexibility and strength in the spine. It sooths stiff necks and upper back tension caused by stress, poor posture, or prolonged periods of sitting in one position.The alternating compression and release of the abdominal region flushes this area with blood and massages the internal organs. Muscles of the stomach and hips are also toned from repeated practice of the Half Spinal Twist.
The posture can be held for as long as you are comfortable. (One repetition consists of performing the posture on each side). Two to three full repetitions should be done at each session.