Matsyasana or Fish Pose : How to Do It, Benefits & Precautions

The Sanskrit name for fish pose refers to Matsya who was an incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu.The story goes, that long ago, the earth had become corrupt and was going to be overtaken by a flood.Vishnu who was charged with preserving the universe ,turned himself into a fish called MATSYA.He carried the great Hindu sages to safety in a boat, which ensured the preservation of all their wisdom and of mankind itself.

Just as Matsya rebalanced earth and ocean, so practising Fish pose can be a way of reestablishing your focus and giving resilience when you feel gravity laden.You will feel this when you burrow into the earth through the the strong activities of your legs which in turn bends your chest like a wave and deepens your breath.

How to Do Matsyasana or Fish Pose?


Lie on your back start with your hands and feet together palms facing downwards.Slowly sit up and get into PADMASANA. This is a deep hip opener. Keeping your right foot over the left thigh and the left foot over the right thigh. Once in PADMASANA use your arms to lie back down on the mat.

Now take your palms near your ears fingers facing away from your ears inhale and gently lift your head and chest up and then slowly drop your head gently  on the mat in a comfortable position.Do not put too much weight on your head.

Here you have a anterior pelvis tilt that will allow you to arch your back.Doing PPT here will steady your back and bring firmness to your posture. Bring your hands down and hold your big   toes.Push your chest up as high as you can and open your heart, arch your back.Move your  hands backwards without actually moving them.This will take your shoulders behind and open up your chest further. Do moolabandha here.Stay in the posture and breath.Either keep your eyes closed or gaze at your Bhrumadhya.


For practitioners who are unable to perform PADMASANA, one can lie on their back with their hands by their side palms facing downwards, feet together.Now inhale and push your head and chest up pushing down on your arms or take your palms near your ears fingers pointing out wards, lift your trunk up and gently drop the your head to the floor creating an arch with your back.Keep your legs together on the mat. This method is safer for beginners.Keep your eyes closed or gaze at your Bruhmadhya.


Do not overextend your neck.

Arch your back to keep your chest and heart open.

Keep your shoulders away from the ears and arms pulled backwards.

This can be a difficult pose for beginners,so using a prop like a thickly rolled blanket, bolster or a block might help.


MATSYASAN in itself is a follow up posture,that is done after inversions like Headstand and Shoulderstand.


Chest and heart opener like UPWARD DOG can be done.

After being in the posture, the practitioner should do SHAVASAN.


A traditional text says that MATSYASANA is the destroyer of all diseases. It stretches the deep hip flexors and the muscles between the ribs.

Stretches and stimulates the muscles of the belly and front of the neck,stimulates the organs of the belly and stomach.

Strengthens the muscles of the neck and the back. Improves posture.

It helps in constipation.

Benefits and strengths the spine. Stimulates the thyroid glands.

By Mrinalinee

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