Welcome back to YogaJellies Featured Asana! This month’s featured yoga pose is Matsyasana, otherwise known as Fish Pose!
Matsyasana is a perfect summer pose. It helps stretch and strengthen the back, chest, neck, and spine, areas of the body that can easily become fatigued and cramped in common summertime activities like biking and hiking. It’s also said that if you do this pose in water you’ll float like a fish. How apropos!
As we mentioned above, the benefits of Matsyasana focus mainly on the upper body/torso. Fish pose stretches the hip flexors and the muscles between your ribs and stimulates many of the organs of your belly and throat. It also improves posture, reduces stress and anxiety, and can offer relief from menstrual pain.
While Matsyasana can certainly be performed by anyone, some beginners have a tendency to stretch their necks and shoulders to the point of straining them. Adding a yoga prop like YogaJellies under the back of your head can help reduce the risk of straining your neck and shoulders.
Additionally, if you suffer from high or low blood pressure or a serious back injury, talk to your doctor before attempting Matsyasana.
How to do it:
Fish pose is traditionally performed with legs in Padmasana, but if you find that too difficult you can still get the great benefits of Matsyasana with your legs out straight and pressed against the floor.
First, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Inhale, lift your hips slightly, and slide your hands under your buttocks so your palms touch the floor and your elbows are tucked close to your sides.
Next, inhale and press your arms firmly against the floor. Press your scapulas into your back and lift your shoulders and head upwards, then release your head and let it return gently to the floor.
Finally, lower your legs until they are flat on the floor. If this is too difficult, keep your legs bent and your knees raised. Stay in this position for 15 – 30 seconds, breathing normally. When you are ready to return, exhale and bring your torso back to the floor. Bring your thighs up to your abdomen and squeeze for a nice release.