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Stretch of the Week: 1/2 Lord of the Fishes

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The last of April’s internal hip rotation stretches is one from the yoga world called 1/2 Lord of the Fishes. Fun name!

It is also a bonus stretch because it adds an upper body twist.

If you have or are experiencing any of these please refrain from doing the stretch: sacral problems, hip or knee pain, especially with rotating inward, or low back pain when twisting. In addition, if you have trouble getting up or down from the floor this stretch may not be for you. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, contact your physician, physical or occupational therapist to determine what is right for you.

You will not need any equipment for this stretch.

Starting Position:

1. Sit on the floor with legs stretched straight in front of you. Bend the right knee and bring the heel in towards your sit bone. Cross your right foot over the left thigh and place it on the floor. Your left leg stays straight. Keep it active by flexing the foot.

1/2 lord of the fishes stretch

Performing the 1/2 Lord of the Fishes:

2. From this position, simultaneously inhale and reach your left arm towards the sky. On the exhale, twist to the right and wrap your left arm around your right knee. Place your right hand behind the right hip on the floor to anchor down the twist. Gaze is behind you.

3. Staying in this position, inhale and reach the crown of the head to the sky. Next, exhale and, from the belly, twist a little more to the right.

Things to remember: hug the bent knee into the chest, plant the bent leg’s entire foot into the floor, keep the spine tall and long, and the straight leg’s foot flexed. Refrain from looking like the bottom photo marked NO.

Tip: if you are struggling to sit up straight because the low back is tight, sit on the edge of a folded blanket or towel. This will tilt the pelvis and keep you more easily upright.

4. Stay here for 8 full Breath cycles. Then re-straighten the legs to bring the pelvis to a neutral position, and perform on the other side.

Thanks again for tuning into the weekly stretch!

Questions? Email me at

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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