Matsyasana – Fish pose -“destroyer of all diseases.”
Matsyasana is better than a coffee break—it will wake you up, ground you, and leave you feeling refreshed.
Like all backward-bending poses, Matsyasana lifts your heart and lightens your mood. Fish Pose also strengthens your back and your abdominals, and yogis believe that the deep neck curve benefits the thyroid.
- Begin sitting on your heals in Virasana -hero pose.
- Widen your feet so you come sitting between your legs allowing your sitting bones to touch the ground.
- Slowly come lying on your back with your knees slightly apart and the top of your feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your hips and tuck your hands slightly beneath your buttocks. Draw your forearms and elbows in toward your body.
- On an inhale, bend your elbows and press firmly into your forearms and elbows to lift your head and upper body away from the floor and begin to find the natural curve of your spine.
- Bring your shoulder blades towards your spine and lift your chest higher toward the ceiling, elongating your spine.
- Gently release the crown of your head on the floor, placing a minimal amount of weight on your head.
- Hold the pose from 5 to 10 deep breaths. To come out of the pose, engage your core, press firmly into your forearms, and gently lift your head away from the floor. Tuck your chin into your chest and place the back of your head down.
Traditionally Fish Pose is performed with the legs in Virasana (hero pose) or Padmasana (half lotus pose). Since these variations are beyond the capacity of most beginning students, you can work either with the knees bent, feet on the floor, or with the legs straight pressed against the floor.
The backbending position in Matsyasana can be difficult for beginning students. Perform the pose with your back supported on a thickly rolled blanket. Be sure your head rests comfortably on the floor and your throat is soft.
- Strengthens the back.
- Opens the heart.
- Stretches the abdomen and the intercostal muscles in the ribs.
- Stimulates the thyroid.
- Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles (intercostals) between the ribs.
- Stretches and stimulates the organs of the belly and throat.
- Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck.
- Improves posture.
- High or low blood pressure.
- Serious lower-back or neck injury.