Yoga Poses

Fish pose Matsyasana

Steps

Fish pose is a deep backbend and chest opener with many therapeutic benefits. This pose stimulates the lymphatic system, boosting immunity to disease and infections. This pose is also used to improve ailments from chronic fatigue to a backache and constipation. It is also a pose that is most commonly included near the end of a yoga sequence as a counter pose for shoulder stand or headstand.

To begin lay flat on the floor with the knees bent and feet firmly rooted to the floor. Slide the hands (palm-side down) underneath the buttocks. Tuck the forearms and elbows close to the torso and press down. Lift the upper chest and arch the back. Let the head tilt back. If possible rest the head crown on the floor.  Next stretch the legs out one at a time. Press the backs of the legs into the floor and stretch out through the heels. Take five full breaths. To exit the pose, gently lower the head and back to the floor.  Bend the knees and hug them to the chest.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Practice open hearted ness in this pose. In the final position (or a modified version), picture someone you love. Imagine their smile, laughter and gaze. In your mind, tell them how much you love them. Breathe deeply into the heart and feel the love.

Technical Comments

To lift into backbend, press shoulder blades into the back. Press the forearms and elbows down. Keep the throat soft and lift the chest (leading with the sternum) skywards. Tilt the head back, chin upwards, gently rest the head crown onto mat or blanket.

Benefit Comments

  • Opens chest
  • Stretches and stimulates muscles and organs for belly and throat
  • Stretches hip flexors (psoas) and intercostals (muscles between ribs)
  • Strengthens upper back and neck
  • Improves posture

Watch Out For:

  • Neck strain – avoid placing weight on head in final pose

Contraindications

  • High or low blood pressure
  • Back or neck injury
  • Migraine
  • Insomnia

Modifications

  • Place bolster under the back
  • Place blanket under the neck and/or head
  • Bend knees, placing feet flat on the floor

Variations

  • From final position, lift legs off floor
  • From final position, slide hands out from beneath body and extend upwards, fingers to sky
  • From final position, lift legs off floor and extend arms
  • Place legs into lotus position

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Cow-faced pose (Gomukhasana)
  • Camel pose (Ustrasana)
  • Bridge pose (Sethubandasana)
  • Corpse Pose (savasana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga Benefits Comments

Return to Yoga Pose Directory