Ardha Matsyendrasana, sitting turn, Lord of the Fishes


Lesson #3:

Ardha Matsyendrasana - Lord of the Fishes

Ardha Matsyendrasana - Sitting Turn

The story goes...

Shiva, came out of a ten thousand year meditation and decided to descend Mount Kailish to visit his beloved Parvati. Parvati had a way of knowing such things and knew that he would come on this day and put together a picnic lunch and started toward the river. Shiva arrived just after she set out.

Shiva began to tell Parvati about the miraculous discovery he’d made during his many years of meditation – yoga! He explained that this was the ultimate path to union between the individual self and the Divine.
While he went on and on about yoga, Parvati fretted about lunch. Shiva was confused by her apparently flippant attitude and asked her why she wasn’t listening. He felt he’d made the discovery of a lifetime and that she was not interested in hearing about it. Parvati told him that of course she was interested and asked that he carry on. Shiva kept on with his discovery.
What he didn’t know was that Parvati already knew about yoga and in fact had been practicing for as long as she could remember. She just assumed that Shiva knew about yoga as well. She was humble, though, and let him have his moment and listened to him describe the glories of yoga.
Meanwhile, in the river, Matsya, (sanskrit for fish) was swimming by and heard Shiva speaking. Having never heard Shiva lecture on the nature of life and the universe before, he decided to listen in. Shiva continued to speak and Matsya continued to listen. As he listened, he felt the techniques and theory of yoga take hold of his body and begin to live through him. Through his perfect listening Matsya became enlightened.
It was at that moment that Shiva became the first Guru (teacher) and Matsya became the first chela (student). This is a relationship that has lived on throughout the years. When someone becomes enlightened they have the opportunity to come back to earth to help those of us who wish to be liberated in this way. Matsya is said to have come back as half human, half fish, and that through his wisdom the Hatha Yoga Pradipika was written by the Nath Yogis. Called Matsyaendranath in this incarnation, we honor him through the pose matsyendrasana. The upright torso resembles his half human side and the folded legs are representative of his fish tail.
Please note:
1) Do your homework for asanas as always.
2) Remember to draw the stick figures for the before (how it’s usually taught) and after (how you would do it now with my teachings). For the ‘before’, make little notes next to the corresponding body parts about what not to do and why.


I spent 30 years so that you don’t have to!

I am here for you!