Fish Pose

Matsyasana

  • Begin sitting in Lotus (Padmasana).
  • Support the body with the arms and elbows and carefully bend the body backward.
  • Lift the chest and lower the crown of the head to the floor.
  • Rest the elbows on the floor and hold the big toes with the hands.
  • Make any adjustments required to maximise the arch in the back.
  • Hold for as long as comfortable then slowly release by reversing the order of movements.
  • One round is usually sufficient.

Breathing

  • Relaxed natural breathing.

Awareness

  • The expansion of the chest, lungs and throat.
  • Ajna or anahata chakra.

Contraindications

  • Heart conditions.
  • High or low blood pressure.
  • Neck conditions.
  • Back conditions.
  • Migraines.
  • Knee problems.
  • Pregnancy.

Benefits

  • Induces relaxation.
  • Helps to relieve sciatica.
  • Relaxes the nervous system.
  • Blood flow from the legs is redirected to the abdomen, stimulating the digestive system.
  • Stretches and stimulates the organs of the belly and throat.
  • Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck.
  • Improves posture.

Practice note

  • Having the legs in padmasana is demanding on the knee and ankle joints. Until flexibility of the knees has been developed, practiced in another seated position or with the legs straight as described in the variation.

Variation

  • Lie on the back on the floor with the legs straight and the feet together. Lift the pelvis slightly off the floor, and slide the hands, palms faced down, below the buttocks. Rest the buttocks on the backs of the hands. Press down on the forearms and elbows to lift the upper torso and head from the floor. Carefully lower the base or crown of the head to the floor and tuck the forearms and elbows in close to the sides of the torso. Hold for as long as comfortable then slowly release by reversing the order of movements.