Matsyendrasana (Lord of the Fishes (named after Matsyendra)
Matsyendra or Matsye in know as fish in Sanskrit. Therefore this asana can be performed as follows;
- Sit on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you, and buttocks supported on a folded blanket.
- Bend your knees, put your feet on the floor, and then slide your left foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip. Place the outside of the left leg on the floor.
- Set the right foot over the left leg and stand it on the floor outside your left hip. The right knee shall be pointing directly up at the ceiling.
- Breathe out or exhale as you twist toward the inside of the right thigh. Now press the right hand against the floor just behind your right buttock, and set your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh near the knee.
- Pull your front torso and inner right thigh together.
- Press the inner right foot very actively on the floor, release the right groin, and lengthen the front torso. Lean the upper torso back slightly, against the shoulder blades, and continue to lengthen your tailbone into the floor.
- You can now turn your head in one of two directions: Continue the twist of the torso by turning it to the right; or counter the twist of the torso by turning it to left and looking over the left shoulder at the right foot.
- With every inhalation or breathe taken in lift a little more through the sternum, pushing the fingers against the floor to help. Twist a little more with every exhalation.
- Always you must be sure to distribute the twist evenly throughout the entire length of the spine; don't concentrate it in the lower back.
- Stay in this posture for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release with an exhalation, return to the starting position, and repeat to the left for the same length of time.
The benefits of this asana are:
- It works on the upper back.
- It has great therapeutic value in sciatica.
- Stimulates the kidneys, and the liver.
- Stretches the shoulders, hips and the neck.
- Energizes the spine.
- Brings about the stimulation of the digestive system.
- Provides relief in the menstrual discomforts, fatigues, and backache.
- Is of great therapeutic value in asthma and infertility.
- Increases the appetite.
- Awakens the kundalini.
- Stimulates the liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach, ascending as well as the descending colons.
- Useful in diabetes, constipation and urinary problems.
- Releases the mind from and tension or emotional imbalance.
Precautionary measures that are to be followed in this asana are:
- Should be avoided in cases of back or spinal injury.
- It must also be avoided in women with duration of more than 2 to 3 months of pregnancy.
- Should also not be practiced by individuals with peptic ulcers, hernia, or even hyperthyroidism.