Friday, November 2, 2012


Matsya, the Fish, was one of the incarnations of the Hindu God Vishnu.  Vishnu assumed this form to save the world from the floods.    

This asana is called as Matsyasana because the posture is in the shape of fish ( Matsya).  The shape of the body appears similar to a fish in the water.   It is possible to float on the water without any movement in this asana.  Matsya is a Sanskrit word which means fish.  The other asanas imitate the poses of creatures they are named after, but the fish pose does not actually look like a fish.  But if you perform this pose in water, the person can float like a fish.

Normally the Fish pose is performed with the legs in Padmasana.  But Padmasana is a little bit difficult for beginners, we will practice the Matsyasana with the knees bent, feet on the floor, or with the legs straight pressed against the floor.

Steps to perform Matsyasana

  • First lie down on your back on the floor with knees bent and the feet on the floor.   Inhale and lift your pelvis slightly off the floor and slide your hands, palms down, below your buttocks.  Now rest your buttocks on the back of your hands ( don't lift them off your hands while performing this asana).  Your fore arms and elbows should be close to the sides of your body.
  •  Now inhale and press your forearms and the elbows against the floor.  Now press your scapulas ( shoulder blades) into your back, and with an inhale, lift your upper body and head away from the floor.  Now release your head back onto the floor.  Either the back of your head or its crown will rest on the floor depending on how high you arch your back and lift your chest.  Try to have minimal amount of weight on your head.
  • Your knees can be either bent or straight on the floor. 
  • Stay for 15 to 30 seconds breathing smoothly.  Now with an exhalation, lower your body and head to the floor.  Draw your thighs up into your belly and sqeeze.

Benefits of Matsyasana

Here are some of the benefits of Matsyasana

  • Matsyasan is called traditionally as the "Destroyer of all diseases"
  • Matsyasan strengthens the muscles of upper back and neck
  • This asana stretches the muscles of the belly and front of the neck
  •  Improves the quality of your breath
  •  Relieves you of back spinal tension

  • You can see a video of Matsyasana below.

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