26 Oct 21 Day Challenge Eighteen: Half Lord of the Fishes or Ardha Matsyendrasana
Welcome to Day 18 of the 21 Day Challenge.
Today pose is Half Lord of the Fishes, or Ardha Matsyendrasana.
Twists provide a multitude of benefits for the entire body. They increase flexibility in the spine, calm the mind, and relax the nervous system. The belly to thigh contact that results from the twisting action stimulates and improves digestion, and is traditionally thought to cleanse the internal organs, particularly kidneys and liver. The act of twisting, of turning the torso around itself, brings attention to how your body feels thus bringing you to the present moment.
To settle into the pose, lift through the sternum on your inhale, pushing the fingers against the floor to help lengthen the spine. On your exhale, begin to twist from belly button upwards, first rib-cage than your chest, neck and head. Keep your shoulders level and keep spreading through the collar bones.
As you distribute the twist throughout the length of the spine, maintain awareness as to whether your sit bones are pressing evenly into the ground. Allow breath to flow freely and be sure to keep belly relaxed.
There are modifications to make this pose more comfortable and accessible. If you are uncomfortable sitting flat on the floor, a folded blanket can be used under the hips. For those with less flexibility, a block or blanket under the thigh can help ease tension in the hips. If it is difficult to place your opposite-side elbow to the outside of your raised leg, hug the thigh with your hands instead though remain long through the spine with shoulders wide across collar bones. In time, your flexibility will increase. Remember in time!
With regular practice Half Lord of the Fishes you might notice yourself feeling younger, more energetic, and clear thinking.
Click here for video instruction of today’s pose with Cathy Madeo of Honor Yoga Princeton.