Matsyasana Fish Pose
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The Matsyasana Yoga, also often called the fish pose, is a yogic posture practised among our people since time immemorial. Practising this posture regularly over time is said to (and indeed does) have several positive effects on our body and mind. But, before we venture further into this pose, some of us may ask ourselves a question – what is yoga?

How To Do The Matsyasana Yoga,The Fish Pose?

The Matsyasana, or the Fish Pose

We shall talk about one particular yogic posture today – the Matsyasana, or as often called the Fish Pose.

This posture is so named as it is said that when one performs this posture in water, the body effortlessly floats in the water, not unlike a fish would. The matsyasana is meant to activate the visuddha (or throat) chakra, one of the chakras (wheels) through which our prana or life-force is channeled. This posture is greatly beneficial to our body: indeed, it is safe to say that it is one of the most important and beneficial yogic poses known to mankind. It is a pose with great positive effects and assists in enhancing the vocal cords and the general throat region. Thus we can easily comprehend the importance of this pose.

Now that we have a basic idea about the posture itself and all its advantages, let us now try and see how we can execute this pose correctly.

Procedure of Matsyasana, The Fish Pose

1)      We commence by lying on the ground such that our backrests on the floor, our knees bent with the feet lying on the floor. Breathing in, we proceed to lift our hips slightly off the floor, and then we position our hands below our buttocks such that the palms face upwards. We then rest our buttocks on the backs of our hands. We must not lift them during the duration of this posture. We must ensure that our forearms are tucked up in close proximity to the sides of our upper body.

2)      Once we attain the position described in the step above, we inhale and apply a firm pressure against the floor with our elbows and forearms. Next we press our shoulder bones into our back and lift our upper torso and shift such that we distance ourselves from the floor, accompanied by an exhalation. We then relax your head and let it rest back onto the floor. Depending on how high you arch your back and lift your chest, either the back of our skull or its crown will rest on the floor, depending on the height up to which we arch our back and raise our chest. The weight on our head must be reduced as much as possible to avoid cracking our neck. 

3)      We may either straighten our legs out onto the floor or keep our knees in a bent position. If we decide to perform the former, we must take care to keep your thighs in action and press outwards via the heels.

4)      We must hold this posture for around 15 to 30 seconds, after which accompanied by an exhalation we lower our upper body and head back onto the floor. We then bring our thighs up close to our belly and squeeze against them.

Care must be taken to not overdo this posture in duration or repetitions as it may cause damage to the throat and vocal regions. 

Thus this is how we may exercise the matsyasana posture. Preferably this posture may be done on a yoga mat. 

Benefits of Matsyasana, The Fish Pose

1) This asana enhances the nutrient assimilation capabilities of the body and hence the food we ingest benefits the body much more.

2) It rectifies our breathing and hence helps in relieving certain respiratory ailments.

3) It fortifies and stimulates the pituitary, parathyroid, and pineal glands, thus improving their functional capabilities.

4) It relieves strain from the back and thus alleviates cases of back pain.

5) Strengthens the muscles in the neck and upper back regions.

6) The posture helps in posture improvement and thus helps prevent ailments and injuries caused by an improper posture.

7) The pose helps in stimulating and exercising the abdominal muscles and the muscles residing on the front of the neck.

8) It provides a great stretch to the hamstrings and the muscles housed between the ribs beneficial to them and thus helps in strengthening and stimulating them.

6) It can help fight against medical conditions such as improper bowel movements,

 respiratory ailments, mild backaches, fatigue, anxiety and excessive menstrual pain.

Contraindications of Matsyasana, The Fish Pose

1) In case one suffers from abnormal blood pressure, it may be advised to avoid this practicing this posture in order to avoid complex medical complications.

 2) Additionally, patients diagnosed with insomnia and migraine would be advised to avoid this pose as well to avoid an aggravation of the symptoms they suffer from.

 3) Individuals with a back injury must abstain from this pose to avoid further damage.

Modifications

The position in Matsyasana involving the bending of the back may prove to be difficult for beginners. In such a case one may execute the posture with a thickly rolled blanket supporting their back. One must ensure that their skull lies on the floor in a position that allows for comfort and that their throat is left not strained. 

Conclusion

The positive impacts of the Matsyasana posture are many – indeed, we may undeniably accept that this posture holds a very important place among the various postures in Yoga. Such gracefulness, such calmness is rarely observed, if ever so. And the benefits of this pose towards physical and mental health are countless. Hence we may conclude here acknowledging that the yogic posture, needless to say, is a fruit of an ancient civilization gifted unto us – we must attempt to practice it and reap the many benefits it offers, and make a step towards a healthier body and a healthier mind through the path of Yoga.

Read our article on The Mountain Pose.

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