Fish Pose - Matsayasana

Matsyasana or Fish pose is a reclining back-bending asana in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise.

Fish Pose - Matsayasana

Fish Pose can also be practiced after the Shoulderstand as a counter pose. It releases any blockage or tension after Shoulderstand. As a counter pose of Shoulderstand, the Fish Pose gives a backward stretch to the cervical and thoracic vertebrae. The chest is opened and deep breathing is stimulated and improved.




Anahata /Heart Chakra


In Sanskrit, matsya means fish.

Benefits of Fish Pose

Regular practice in a steady and comfortable manner within a balanced yoga asana program:

  •  Stimulates the Heart Chakra and therefore stimulates the heart, lungs, thymus, and lymph glands, making it esteemed as highly beneficial for boosting the immune system
  • Stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands
  • Encourages deep abdominal and diaphragmatic breathing and stretches the intercostals, therefore strengthening the lungs and increasing their capacity, resulting in higher athletic performance and better coping with respiratory conditions such as asthma and spasms in the bronchial tubes
  •  Relaxes the upper-back and neck muscles
  • Strengthens and tones the arm and upper-back muscles
  • Reverses the compression caused by Shoulderstand, stretching the thoracic and lumbar regions of your spine in the opposite direction.

Instructions for Fish Pose

How to come into the pose

  1. Lie down on your back—legs and feet together.
  2. Place your hands under your hips, palms facing downward and elbows slightly outward.
  3. Breathing in, look toward your feet and bring your weight onto your elbows.
  4. Bring your elbows as close together as possible.
  5. Breathing in, open your chest and drop your head back so that the crown of your head rests on the floor.
  6. Taking deep breaths, expand your lungs and chest.

Coming out of the pose

  1. Breathe in and lift your head to look at the feet.
  2. Breathe out and relax in Corpse Pose.

Alignment cues for Fish Pose

  • Make sure your hands are below your hips. If your hands are too high or too low, the alignment of the whole pose will be off.
  • Make sure that your head is resting on the floor.
  • Do not lean on your head. Your head should be slightly touching the floor, but the weight should be on your elbows only.
  • Keep your feet and legs relaxed.
  • Open your chest as much as possible. Breathe as deeply as possible, taking advantage of the fact tha taking advantage of the fact that the chest is thrown wide open.

Duration of Hold

  • Beginners: 30 seconds–1 minute
  • Intermediate: 1–2 minutes
  • Advanced: 2–4 minutes


  • If you feel dizzy or feel pain in your neck, you can rest your upper back or head on a cushion.

Cautions and Contra-indications

  • Neck issues
  • Acute headache
  • Hypertension

Relevant Poses

Rest in Corpse Pose and then move on to Easy Cow Face - Sukha Gomukhasana.

For more yoga asanas and exercises, make sure to visit  Arhanta Yoga Asana Guide!.

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