Firefly Pose
March 30, 2015
Flying Crow Pose
March 30, 2015

Fish Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Matsyasana
(mot-see-AHS-anna)
matsya = fish

BENEFITS

  • Stretches the chest and the front of the throat
  • Opens the pectorals, hip flexors, and intercostal muscles between the ribs
  • Stimulates organs in the throat and abdomen
  • Strengthens the upper back and neck musculature
  • Opens the accessory muscles of breathing
  • Releases tension in the thoracic spine and mid-back

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Insomnia
  • Migraine or headache
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Neck or low back injury
  • Glaucoma

HOW TO

  1. Lie flat on your back with your feet together and legs extended in front of you. Rest your arms alongside your body.
  2. Press your elbows and forearms into the ground, and begin to lift your chest, creating an arch in the upper back. Draw your shoulder blades together and lift your upper torso off the ground.
  3. Tilt your head back and continue lifting your chest until you can bring the top of your head to the floor. Keep pressing through your arms. There should be very little weight resting on your head.
  4. Keep your thighs engaged and press through your heels to lengthen the legs. Continue to deepen the arch in your thoracic spine and breathe.
  5. Hold this pose for 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. To release, inhale and lift your head off the floor. As you exhale, lower your head and torso to the ground. Bring your knees into your chest for a counter stretch.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

Modifications:

  • Lay with a bolster underneath the shoulders and allow the head to drop back. This opens the chest and relieves pressure on the back of the neck and head.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Make sure to support your weight on your elbows and forearms, not the top of your head.
  • Really arch the upper back and open your heart.
  • Reach out through your heels and point the toes to lengthen your legs.

VARIATIONS

  • Lift your arms overhead and join the palms together. Then reach back and touch the floor behind you.
  • Begin in Padmasana (Lotus pose) and recline down to the ground. Then follow steps 2-7, keeping the legs crossed.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Too much pressure on the head
  • Hyper-extending the neck or throat