Fish Yoga Pose: Matsyasana
How to do this pose: Sit in staff pose (Dandasana) with legs straight out in front of you. To practice Fish Pose (Matsyasana) in Lotus bring the legs into lotus pose now and then slowly lean back onto the elbows and wiggle the hands under the sides of the hips, palms facing down. Draw the energy of the elbows towards each other and open wide across the chest, power up the shoulder and upper back so the shoulders are drawing down and towards each other. Lastly the top of the head comes to rest ever so lightly on the mat. Imagine a raw egg is resting under the head; do not crush it. The legs are resting down on the ground. The knees should not be lifting. If this is happening the hips require more opening before performing fish pose in lotus. Try Lion Pose in Lotus or Hidden Lotus Pose to encourage the hips to relax further. To practice Fish Pose (Matsyasana) with legs extended begin in staff pose, legs are straight, knees and feet together. Move the flesh of the buttocks to the side if necessary to ground the hips in a level way. Lean back and rest the elbows on the mat, wiggle the hands under the sides of the hips, palms facing down. Draw the energy of the elbows towards each other and open wide across the chest, power up the shoulder and upper back so the shoulders are drawing down and towards each other. Lastly, the top of the head comes to rest ever so lightly on the mat.
Modifications: a Yoga strap fastened around the upper thighs while performing Fish Pose will keep the legs together and help the practitioner remember to send energy down the legs through the feet. Interestingly, energy in this posture moves simultaneously up through the head and down through the legs and feet.
Benefits: The “vital airs” are united as energies in the body oppose. Fish Pose energizes the arms and legs, aligns the hips, stretches the abdomen, anterior longitudinal ligament of the spine, opens the chest and front of the neck while relaxing the muscular-ligamentous structures of the back of the neck and base of skull. Helpful for easing Asthma, bronchitis and stimulates thyroid and thymus glands. Builds self-acceptance, expression and will power.
Precautions: those with heart disease, hiatal hernia, stomach ulcer, back pain or Meniere’s disease should not perform this pose.