Fish / Matsyasana

Matsyasana is the fourth posture in the sequence. It is the counter posture for the Shoulderstand and Plough, as the neck is bent backwards and the chest is pushed open. Matsyasana is a wonderful heart-opening posture, stretching the chest and ribcage and deepening the breath. This posture is especially helpful for those who spend their day hunched over a desk.

Benefits:

  • Expands the ribcage, encouraging deep breathing
  • Improves lung capacity, decongests the lungs and may help to relieve asthma
  • Tones the nerves of the neck and back area
  • Strengthens the arms and shoulders
  • Recharges the solar plexus

Contraindications:

  • If you have any neck issues, consult your physician before practicing
  • Stop practicing immediatley if you feel neck discomfort or dizziness

Instructions:

1. Lay on the back with the feet together, arms by the sides.

2. Roll towards the right and bring the left arm underneath the body, palm flat on the ground as far under the hips as possible. Repeat on the other side bringing the right arm underneath the body, hug elbows close together. Feel the chest start to open in this position.

3. Inhale, press into the elbows and lift the head and chest.

4. Exhale, gently lower the head back, touching the crown of the head to the ground. Keep almost no weight in the head.

5. Relax the feet and legs as much as possible, and breathe deeply into the abdomen and chest.

6. Hold for half the time you held the Shoulderstand.

7. To release, inhale, lift the head slightly, and lower the back to the ground.

8. As a counter stretch, make a basket with the hands behind the head, and keeping the neck completely relaxed, lift the chin towards the chest. Hold for a few seconds, and release.

9. Return to Savasana.

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