Sivananda yoga classes in Brussels & online

Fish pose – MATSYASANA

Objective: To ease tension and improve spinal flexibility.

The fish (Sanskrit: मत्स्यासन)is the pose that counters the shoulderstand and plough, and so follows this asana in Yoga session. The name of the posture derives from the fact that if you adopt the position in water, you will float quite easily. The asana does wonders for your respiratory systems; when you assume this position, your chest is stretched open and your bronchial tubes are widened to promote easier breathing. In time your rib cage will expand, and this will also encourage you to breathe more deeply. By lifting your chest and tucking your arms underneath your body, you will combat postural defects such as rounded shoulders and the cervical region of your spine, thus releasing pressure on your nerves. Try to hold the pose for half of the time that you spent in the shoulderstand, in order to balance the stretching effects on your spine and muscles.

Check out the yoga video tutorial:


Starting Pose: Prepare yourself for this asana by relaxing in Savasana (the Corpse Pose) for as long as you need.
When you are ready, begin to come into the fish. Lie flat on your back, and bring your legs and feet together.
With your arms straight by your sides, put your palms on the floor, then tuck your hands in underneath your buttocks.


Fish step 2

On an inhalation bend your elbows and lift your chest as high as possible.

Slowly extend your neck and head backwards.


Fish step 3

Having arched your spine, tilt your head so that your crown rests on the ground.

Hold for 30 seconds.

 anatomy matsyasana

To come out of the Fish, slide your head back until it comes of the floor and then lower your chest and spine back on the mat. To finish, relax by lying in the Corpse.


There should be no weight on your head in the pose, all the weight is carried by your arms, elbows and by the contraction in your lower back. Your shoulders should be away from your ears.

  • Relieves stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Corrects any tendency to round the shoulders
  • Strengthens arm muscles
  • Expands the rib cage
  • Together with the Shoulderstand, the Fish helps to improve the functioning of the thyroid and parathyroid glands
  • Improves the capacity of the lungs
  • Relieves asthma

After you’ve come out of the posture, lie back in Savasana before you continue with the Sitting Forward Bend – PASCHIMOTANASANA.

Previous pose: <<<< Halasana (plough) >>>> Next pose Paschimotanasana (sitting forward bend).

Sources: Sivananda & Leslie Kaminoff 

3 thoughts on “Fish pose – MATSYASANA

  1. Pingback: Asanas for the Heart Chakra | Yoga for Dinner

  2. Pingback: Practice yoga using this blog | Ambika Yoga

  3. Pingback: A new yoga asana tutorial video available on my YouTube channel | Ambika Yoga

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