Wednesday 6 March 2013

Ardha-Matsyendrasana - Spine-Twisting Pose - For Beginners

First you may have difficulty wrestling the curious appendages you think of as legs into the position. Once into the position, the knee on the floor lifts slowly and steadily, the foot thrown  over that knee is carried along, and there you are - the Amazing Tumbling-Over-Backward Toy

The key is: the hips must stay flat on the floor to do this position properly. It's the only way to keep your weight forward. But you have, in all probability, already allowed the foot curled around by the side of the right buttock to creep under that buttock, thus tilting you slightly backward. So from the beginning, put that foot farther out to the side than you think you should, leaving a gap between the heel and the side of the right buttock of about three inches. Then press the buttock to the floor till it touches the heel, as opposed to bringing the heel up to meet the hip.

If you still have trouble, then simply rock forward and to the side, repeatedly forcing the right buttock closer to the left heel on each rock, until you stretch the necessary muscles and can touch comfortably.The second essential part of maintaining the proper weight distribution is to keep the knee on the floor. It must not raise. If you have both buttocks flat, it will be much easier to keep the knee down.

If you can't  get your left hand between the left knee and right ankle and still stay upright, grasp the left leg at any point where you are able - lower knee, shin - even the towel you are sitting on if necessary. You may also use the right hand to prop yourself up, lifting it to reach around toward the left thigh only when you have sufficient balance.

You'll feel even more like a backward-tumbling toy at this point, but if you're done your groundwork properly you can fight the tendency. And in a surprisingly short time your muscles will strengthen and balance won't be a problem. You can then devote yourself to twisting with full gusto. Normal breathing helps the twisting no end. On each exhalation, twist around just a fraction more. Exhale loudly, that helps, too. For opposition in the twists, use that straight left arm to press your knee farther father backward as you twist more and more to the right. And if you can reach all the way around to grasp the opposite thigh, really take hold of it and use it to pull yourself around.


The Spine Twisting Pose is the only exercise that twists the spine from top to bottom at the same time. As a result, it increases circulation and nutrition to spinal nerves, veins, and tissues, and improves spinal elasticity and flexibility and the flexibility of the hip joints.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.


Anonymous said...

The Half Spinal Twist - Ardha-Matsyendrasana Increases flexibility in each vertebrae of the spine, from the base of the spine through the neck.

clar said...

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