What is fish posture in yoga?
Fish pose, or Matsyana, is a pose which opens up the chest and helps with better breathing techniques. This pose helps with back flexibility and opening up the lugs to receiving more air and bettering your spine alignment all while enjoying a relaxing yoga session. It is known to help treat diseases of the mind and body and has been in use for hundreds years.
What is the history?
Originally called “the destroyer of all diseases,” the fish pose is known to help with many diseases, physical and mental. I use this pose when my brain is taking in too much stimuli, and it helps clear my thoughts and center my mental state so I am calmed and relaxed. Fish pose is traditionally done with the legs as well, which is called “Padasmana,” but today we will only focus on Matsyana, without the legs, since it is exceedingly difficult for beginners to accomplish.
How do you do fish pose?
This pose is often done after plow pose, or the pose done where you use your hands to support your lower back and your feet go over your head, touching the ground above you. Plow pose starts off as a pose in which you are inverted, and goes into fish pose where you re-open all of those lung cavities and open up your spine. This is a considerably difficult pose, so if you do not start your yoga regimen this way, continue on to the next paragraph where you can learn how to do fish pose without including plow pose.
First you will start lying down in corpse pose.Get comfortable and center your mind, bringing your intentions forward for the pose. What are you looking to accomplish? After you have centered yourself, lift your hips and set your hands palms down under your buttocks. Then you will raise your chest, opening it to the sky, as you bring your elbows as close as you can and allow your head to fall back and stretch your chest and back muscles, making your neck vulnerable and open to the world. Your entire back should be bent so your chest is out and the top of your head is touching the ground. This makes your body grounded while your third eye is open to the sky, taking in the atmosphere and light all around you. This pose should open your mind up as well as your chest, helping with anxiety, respiratory issues, menstrual pain, and more.
If you are looking for a deeper stretch or a more difficult pose, feel free to do the more difficult version of fish pose. To do this, go into normal fish pose as described above. Then you will raise your hips off the ground and thinly parts which are touching your mat should be your forearms and your feet, as well as your head if it will reach. This will look something like upward facing dog pose, except flipped over. Instead of having the tops of your feet and palms of your hands on the ground, you will instead have only your forearms, heels, and top of your head touching your mat. This pose is more physically straining, but if you continue to breathe through it you will be able to do this pose in a breeze.
Fish pose is particularly popular because it doesn’t take much skill level todo, but to do it beautifully takes practice, as all things to with yoga. It can help your breathing, stretch out the muscles in between your ribs, and allow your head to relax and clear your thoughts of the day. Yoga has been in practice for hundreds of years and will likely still be in practice in hundreds more. It can be changed or altered to fit your needs, no matter what they may be. Fish pose helps you mentally because it opens your third eye to the elements and makes you vulnerable to the world, all while working on your core strength and mindset.
The posture of fish pose is very bendy; your entire chest is opened up and your shoulder blades are close together, helping with your back flexibility. Chest-opening exercises and yoga poses are great for anyone who is a smoker or who rarely stretches out their back, since it is a flexibility pose. The more flexible your back is, the easier this pose will be. Luckily, you can alter the poses as need be to build up to doing the full pose on your own.
How do I alter this pose to fit my needs?
If fish pose is too difficult or physically straining, try and use a block and put it under your buttocks. After you do this, keep your forearms and feet on the ground as you allow your head to fall back, touching the mat. This pose is good for those going through menstrual pains or are pregnant, as the normal version of the pose can be too straining. If you have neck problems, avoid putting your neck all the way back and instead get a soft blanket or rolled up mat so you do not have to overwork a part of your body which is already hurting. Doing this can prevent your neck from being overextended and can help relieve some pressure if there is too much neck strain from allowing your head to fall back on the mat without the blanket or rolled up mat.
Fish pose, and all of its variants and alternatives, help the yogi practice yoga without concern of bodily health. Yoga helps the body stay flexible, alert, and energized and no matter which pose you chose to do, it will almost always help you be your best self, mentally and physically. Yoga is a fantastic way to destress and allow your mind to relax as you work out and keep your health up. The great aspect about yoga is how you can always alter it to fit your needs and your physical ability.