Guest Author - Tracy Webb
Matsyasan, also known as The Fish Pose, is excellent for expanding and opening the chest. It is the counter pose to the shoulder stand and is beneficial for toning the abdomen, lungs and spine.
When bending the head back, as in the final position of The Fish, the trachea opens and widens. This allows the lungs to fill with oxygen which facilitates maximum oxygenation of the blood. Through regular practice the lungs are strengthened and many respiratory disorders are aided.
The bending involved with this posture assists with the spines resilience and flexibility. The lower abdomen is strengthened which assists the digestive systems functioning, and can relieve constipation.
• Start on the floor lying on your back.
• Fold the legs into Padmasan – or you can perform this posture with legs straight in front of you.
• If you folded your legs, try to catch the toes on both feet. Pull them so the elbows rest on the floor. Breathe deeply and stay here for a little while. Bring the hands up to the shoulders and bend the neck backwards, try to get the crown of the head to touch the floor. Take hold of the toes again, push the hips up and normalize the breathe.
• If your legs are straight, place the hands face down on the floor and under the thighs. Lift the head, neck and chest off the floor while keeping the hips on the floor. Try to get the top of the head on the floor by curving the spine. The weight of the body should be on the hips and elbows.
• Hold the position for a few breaths.
• Come out of the posture slowly and carefully.
• Move the head slowly from side to side at the end of this posture.
• Rest in Shavasan for 3 minutes when finished.
It is important to note that in the final posture, the hips should be raised to full capacity. When moving the head from side to side, do it as slowly as possible. The slower you do this, the more beneficial it will be. Do not be alarmed if you hear cracking sounds during this movement; it is positive proof that the cervical bones have been deeply affected by the posture.
If you are doing The Fish Pose as part of your routine and to counter the Shoulder Stand, it should be held for half as long as you held the Shoulder Stand.