Matsyasana gives backward stretch to the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine, and expands the chest fully. It is called the fish because this position fills the lungs with air, improving the ability to float in water. This posture helps by bringing the increased prana to the neck and shoulder regions. It relieves pranic blocks from the lung, stomach and spleen meridians.
How to Practice Matsyasana Yoga:
- Lying flat on your back, begin by bringing your legs and feet together, keeping the knees straight. Place your hands palms downwards beneath the thighs so that you are sitting on them.
- Bending the elbows, push them into the ground. Keeping the weight on the elbows, use them to lift the chest until you are sitting half way up. Do not allow the buttocks or legs to lift.
- Drop the head back so that the top of the head is on the floor with the chest expanded. Keep the weight on the elbows. Beginners should hold the pose for at least 15 seconds, gradually increasing to about 90 seconds. Without forcing the breath, breathe as deeply as possible, expanding the ribcage as well as the abdomen. To come down, lift the head slightly, lower the back to the ground and relax in the corpse pose. Shake out the shoulders to remove any tension.