“Ardha” means half. This is half of Mastyendrasan. This Asan takes its name from the Rishi or Yogi Matsyendra, who first taught this Asan to the students of Hatha Yoga.
Spread a blanket on the ground and sit on it with the legs stretched out. Bend the right leg at the knee and set the heel against the perineum. Do not allow the hell to move from this space. Now bend the left leg at the knee and with the help of the hands, arrange the foot to rest on the ground by the external side of the right thigh. Then passing the right hand over the left knee, catch hold of the left foot firmly by the right hand. The left knee is now placed at the right axilla. In order to have more mechanical advantage for twisting the spine, the left hand is now swung back and the right thigh is caught. Now steadily pull and twist the spine. To help the spine to twist evenly all throught, the neck too is turned towards the left shoulder. Keep the chest erect and forwards. Remain in this pose for 5 seconds. Then release the hands and legs. Repeat the same process, twisting the spine on the right side by changing the limbs, thus accomplishing the twist on both sides. This will complete the whole spinal twist.
Ardha-matsyendrasan keeps the spine elastic and well massages the abdominal organs. Lumbago and all sorts of muscular rheumatism of the back muscles are cured. The spinal nerve-roots and the sympathetic system are toned up. They draw a good supply of blood. This is a very good Asan for constipation and dyspepsia. In this Asan every bertebra is rotated on both sides. The ligaments too that are attached to the vertebra get this movement and so receive a rich supply of blood. All the spinal nerves are toned up. The Asan gives lateral movement to the spine to a great extent.
Lie flat on the back (supine) on the carpet. Keep the legs and thighs fixed to the ground. Stiffen your body. Slowly raise the head and chest and assume a sitting pose. Now exhale and bend yourself further till you are able to catch hold of your toes. You may even bury your face between the knees. Remain thus for 5 seconds and then slowly raise the body and resume the supine position. You should now inhale. Repeat this Asan 3 or 4 times.
This is an excellent Asan. It makes the breath flow through the Brahma Nadi or Sushumna Nadi and rouses the gastric fire. All the abdominal muscles get vigorously contracted. This is a powerful abdominal exercise. This Asan stimulates the abdominal viscera such as the kidneys, liver, pancreas. It cures piles and diabetes. This Asan is a good preventive of nocturnal emissions. It is a very good Asan for stretching the posterior muscles of the body. The hamstring muscles at the back of the knees are strengthened. The epigastric nerves, the bladder, the prostate, the lumbar nerves and the sympathetic are all toned up and kept in a sound condition. The spine becomes elastic and thereby perennial youth is established. Halasan and Paschimottanasan bend the spine anteriorly, in a perfect manner.
This can be styled as “Standing Paschimottanasan”. In Sanskrit “Pada” means “feet” and ‘Hastha” means ‘hands’.
Stand erect. Raise your hands over your head and inhale deeply. Then exhale slowly and while exhaling bend the body till the hands reach the toes and the nose touches the knees. The raised hands should be in contact with the ears all throughout, even while bending the body. After a little practice you will be able to bury the face between the knees and keep the palms firmly on the ground. Remain in this pose for 5 seconds. Then slowly raise your body you should inhale slowly. Repeat this pose 4 times.
TAll the benefits of Paschimottanasan are derived from this Asan. The spine becomes supple and is lengthened. It is also an excellent exercise for increasing your height. The adipose tissue on the abdomen will diappear. This Asan is very suitable for ladies for reducing any excess of fat and for developing a graceful figure. You will feel much invigorated after performing this Asan. The body will be rendered light.