Stuart Lee

Ardha Matsyendrasana is as an asymmetrical seated twisted pose that thoroughly engages the whole spine, and during our daily life we rarely get the chance to work the spine in this way.

The position of the legs means that they counter rotate the pelvis away from the rotation of the spine.
Lower leg
The hip and knee joints will be flexed and externally rotated.
The muscles that lie deep within the pelvis (lateral rotators) which enable the hip rotation will be contracting; this is helped by the Sartorius muscle, which runs across the quads from the inner knee to the bony lump at the front of the pelvis.
The Sartorius and the hamstrings will both be contracting to flex the knee.
Muscles on the inner thigh will bring the leg in towards the sit bones of the opposite leg.

Top Leg
The hip and knee of the upper leg will be flexed and crossed over the lower leg, whilst the foot rests on the ground.
To cross the leg over, the inner thigh muscles will be contracting.
The lateral rotators of the hip and deep pelvis along with the glute muscles will be lengthening.

The spine will be rotating towards the upper leg; this is assisted by the contraction of the internal oblique muscles
The deep and superficial muscles of the spine are contracting, whilst the muscles along the opposite side of the body will be passively lengthening.
The sternocleidmastoid muscle supports the twisting of the neck to complete the spinal rotation.

Upper Arm
The arm is in a flexed position being held against the raised upper leg, to aid this the shoulder muscles, upper arm and rhomboids will be contracting.

Lower Arm
The shoulder muscles and deep muscles within ribs and scapula will be contracting to hold the body in an open upright position.
The arms are there to help steady the posture. Awareness of how far you can rotate the spine without the use of the arms is vitally important, as there is sometimes a tendency to force rotation, which can put too much strain on vulnerable areas of the spine.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose stretches
Upper back
Deep and superficial muscles of the spine and pelvis

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose stimulates
Liver and kidneys
Digestive fire
Increases appetite

History of back or spine injury

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