The fish pose, Matsyasana (matsya = fish), is the counter pose of the shoulderstand as it is opening the chest and provides a good counter stretch of the neck. The name of the posture, Matsyasana, comes from Matsya, which means “fish” but is also the name of a great yogi from the past. According to the legend, the Lord Shiva was teaching yoga philosophy to his spouse, Parvati, near a pond. As she was already a goddess, she wasn’t paying much attention to her husband’s teachings. But one the fish in the pond was listening carefully to every word and followed the entire teaching with assiduity and concentration. To reward the fish, lord Shiva gave him a human form so that he could now apply what he had just learned. After assiduous and constant effort in his sadhana (spiritual practice), Matsya became a realized yogi, Matsyendra, the king of the fishes, from whom followed a famous lineage of great yogis.
- Lie down. Legs together. Arms next to the body.
- Bring the arms under the body and the hands flat on the mat, under your buttocks.
- Bring the elbows closer under the body, as much as you can.
- Push on the elbows and lift up the chest.
- Bring the top of the head on the mat to slightly stretch the throat. 80% of body weight are on the elbows and only 20% on the head.
- Full yogic breath with an emphasis on the thoracic breath during inhalation.
- Leave the posture. Interlock the fingers behind your head and lift your head towards your feet to counter stretch the neck.
Variation in Lotus:
- Lie on your back and come into the Lotus position.
- Grab your feet.
- Push on your elbows in order to lift and open the chest.
- Drop your head back and place the top of the head on the floor.
- Breath as deeply as you can.
- Opens the chest and the rib cage.
- Increases the respiratory capacity.
- Stimulates the thymus et thyroid gland.
- Helps to liberate the chest from blockages due to repressed feelings.
- To be avoided if you have any pain in the neck.