Yogasana – Matsyendrasana (Ardha)
Ardha matsyendrasana is one of the best poses to improve the flexibility of the spine. It keeps your spine young,it stretches the muscles along the spinal column and tones the spinal nerves. This can relieve some mild pains caused by stiff back.It is good for mild cases of slipped disk, it massages the organs in the abdominal region, it improves digestion, it tones the kidneys and improves secretion of the adrenal glands, it activates the pancreas and helps to manage diabetes.
How to Perform:
step 1: Sit with legs straight and stretched in front of you.
step 2: Bend the right leg, lift it and place in on the left side of the stretched left foot.
step 3: Bend the left leg and bring to close to the body. Place it under the right buttocks.
step 4: Take the left arm around the right leg and grab the toes of the right leg with the left hand. The left armpits will be close to the right knee. This may be difficult in the beginning. You need a flexible back and spine to achieve this. If you cannot hold the toes, then hold the ankles or part the lower leg to start with. Later with practice you will be able to hold the toes.
step 5: Now turn to towards the right and simultaneously move the right hand behind the back. Twist the back and the neck to as far right as possible. Exhale while twisting the back and neck.
step 6: Remain in this position as much as possible. Breathe normally and slowly in this final position. You may maintain the position from few seconds to a minute, as per your comfort.
step 7: Return to the original position (both legs stretched forward). Inhale while coming back to the original position.
step 8: Repeat with the other leg.
Should be avoided during pregnancy and menstruation due to the strong twist in the abdomen.
People with Heart, abdominal or brain surgeries should not practice this asana.
Care should be taken for those with peptic ulcer or hernia.
Those with severe spinal problems should avoid and those with mild slipped disc can benefit but in severe cases it should be avoided.