The Twist Posture (Ardha Matsyendrdsana)
In order to make this posture easy to master, here it is presented at three stages. For beginners try the 1st stage. After a week, add stage two to your schedule and after another week, add stage three.
Technique (First Movement)
Sitting on the floor extend both legs.
Cross your right foot over your left knee, place it firmly on the floor, keeping the left hand on the right toes.
Stretch out the right arm and twist it around the back of your waist line as far as you can. The open palm and the wrist should be resting on the left hip bone.
Keep both the head and spine straight, and the entire sole of your right foot on the floor. Inhale deeply.
While exhaling, slowly start turning your head, then shoulders and back, to the right. When you have finished exhaling, you will find that you are able to twist still a little more to your right. Do not bend your head while doing so. Keep your chin up.
Stay in this position, holding your breath for as long as you can, then start inhaling while slowly unwind the twist until the head, shoulders, and back are in the original position again.
Keep focused on the stretching taking place in your spine.
Pause for a while and repeat the twist.
Reverse the position of the legs and arms, and assume the same position with the twist to the left side.
Remain in this position for 5 seconds, holding your breath. Increase the time to one minute, adding five seconds per week. When holding it for more than several seconds, resume the deep breathing while remaining in the posture, but always unwind on exhalation. Repeat the twist two to three times.
After the exercise lie down and relax.
Technique (Second Movement)
Stretch out both legs, placing the right foot over the left knee.
Bend the left knee so that the left heel touches the right buttocks. Keep the left hand on the right foot. Wind the right arm around the back of the waist line, with your palm open.
Inhale deeply and slowly make a complete turn to the right, keeping the shoulders straight and the chin up, while exhaling.
The Twist Posture (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Retain this posture for ten seconds, the slowly straighten your head, shoulders and chest. Do the whole exercise once more, then reverse the position of legs and arms and repeat the twisting movement to the left.
Technique (Third Movement)
Done just like the second, except that you change the position of your outstretched arm.
Get into the second pose of the twist as given above.
Bend the left leg, place the right foot over the left knee, left hand on the right toes, right arm on
the back of the waistline.
Raise your left arm, place the elbow cap on the right knee and glide it down along the right side of the right thigh until you can reach the toes of the right foot with your left hand.
Now assume the twist pose by first inhaling deeply, then exhaling and twisting your head, shoulders and back to the right as you did before.
Repeat 2 or 3 times, then reverse the position of legs and arms and repeat the twist to the left side.
If you are unable to reach your toes, simply keep them up off the floor until you can master the correct posture, or put a strap around your toes and hold on to that.
After the exercise lie down and relax. When your breathing has returned to normal, take a few deep breaths.
Benefits of The Twist Posture (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Benefits the adrenal glands, kidneys, liver and spleen.
Helpful for asthma, indigestion, constipation, and obesity.
Strengthens the spine and deep muscles. They are also made flexible. It corrects stooping shoulders, a bent back, and defective posture.
Only asana which twists the spine. The other asanas stretch the spine in the flexion (forwards) and extension (backwards). The twist completes the stretching of the spine so that now every muscle and ligament of the back and neck has been stretched in all directions.