Learn how to do Fish Pose – a unique and beneficial yoga pose suitable for all experience levels…
Fish Pose (Matsyasana) is a very interesting pose with a number of useful applications. Fish Pose is said to help relieve constipation and respiratory ailments, soothe mild back pain and improve posture, reduce fatigue and anxiety, and alleviate menstrual pain. It also stretches and stimulates the psoas and intercostal muscles, the belly, and the neck and throat, and strengthens the muscles of the upper back and neck. Ancient practitioners of this pose claimed that if you perform Fish Pose in water, you will be able to float like a fish!
Fish Pose was traditionally done with the legs in Lotus Pose. This is very challenging for even advanced yogis, so this beginner version (with the legs on the floor) is much more suitable for most people. If this is still too difficult, you can also do this pose with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor.
To make this pose easier, perform it with a thickly rolled blanket under your back, head, and shoulders. Pay attention and lower your chest slightly if you feel any discomfort in your neck. To increase the challenge, straighten your legs along the floor, or add a hand mudra like the one shown in the picture.
If you suffer from migraines, high or low blood pressure, or serious lower back or neck injury, you should avoid this pose.
Here are step-by-step instructions for performing Fish Pose:
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Inhale, lift your pelvis slightly off the floor, and slide your hands, palms down, below your buttocks. Then rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands (and don’t lift them off your hands as you perform this pose). Be sure to tuck your forearms and elbows up close to the sides of your torso.
Inhale and press your forearms and elbows firmly against the floor. Next press your scapulas into your back and, with an inhale, lift your upper torso and head away from the floor. Then release your head back onto the floor. Depending on how high you arch your back and lift your chest, either the back of your head or its crown will rest on the floor. There should be a minimal amount of weight on your head to avoid crunching your neck.
You can keep your knees bent or straighten your legs out onto the floor. If you do the latter, keep your thighs active, and press out through the heels.
Stay for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing smoothly. With an exhalation lower your torso and head to the floor. Draw your thighs up into your belly and squeeze.
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