Monday, November 20, 2017

Ardha Matysendrasana and my Twisted Ankle

My mentor, Anne Shultz, is working on the Junior 3 syllabus while I work on the Junior 1.  One of the poses we both have difficulty with is Ardha Matysendrasana holding the foot.  As a side note, this pose is on 4 separate syllabi AND has 10 pictures in LoY (more than any other single pose, I believe) - clearly this is an important pose in the Iyengar system.

In the Iyengar system, this pose is practiced sitting on the foot.  Not just any way of sitting on the foot.  You must sit on the edge of the foot with the bottom of the foot facing the wall behind you. This is uncomfortable for almost everyone on the planet, but is especially uncomfortable if you have stiff ankles or have recently hurt your ankle.

I have recently hurt my ankle.  I wish to tell my readers that I hurt my ankle snowboarding, doing amazing tricks on slack ropes, or breaking someone out of prison, but alas, it was walking on a sidewalk in my neighborhood.  It just twisted and stopped working the way ankles are supposed to and Ardha Matysendrasana suddenly became even more difficult.

Props to the rescue.  Here's the set up:
 Three blankets, one folded long, two book fold.  Place one book-fold at the end of the long fold.

 Place the bottom leg foot between the long and book-folded blankets.  Make sure there is some blanket under the little toe side of the foot.  As a side benefit, the book-folded blanket reminds the foot of it's correct position.

 Because the leg will now be slightly higher than the foot, a third blanket is needed on top of the foot.

 Here is the Intro 2 version of the pose, using the wall for support.

This is the Junior 1 and Junior 3 version.  I'm holding the blanket rather than my foot.  This is another advantage to having the blanket.

Happy Practicing.


  1. How did my cat Tinker get in your photos? WOW. He really gets around. Love black yoga kitties! Bell ( is a cuttie too.

  2. Thank you Mary, I look forward to trying this. I have what I call "boney ankles" and need at least a doubled mat under that outer edge of the foot. I know someone else who had the same thing happen as you just while walking...inquired about her Padmasana practice and it appears she may have been overstretching her outer feet over time and thus had created a contributing factor...something I've learned to not let the foot sickle...or as per Lois Steinberg "lift the outer ankle bone to the inner ankle bone" in Padmasana.

  3. I hope this helps you. Thanks for the reminder about Padmasana. I don’t sickle my foot in that pose; I think my ankle is just a little loose on that leg.