Matsyasana Benefits and Steps To Do The Fish Pose

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One of the cruellest realities of a woman’s life is menstruation due to the sheer amount of pain and discomfort that it causes the members of the fairer gender. What’s more, it is something that women have to go through on a monthly basis, which makes life all the more difficult for them. But yet, these women wear a smile on their face and go about life as if all is okay. Thankfully, there is a Yoga pose that can make life a little bit easier for women during such a time. It is known as the Matsyasana or the fish pose.

Let's embark on a journey into the depths of this elegant posture, exploring the benefits of Matsyasana, unraveling a step-by-step guide on how to perform the Fish Pose, delving into the anatomy of Matsyasana, addressing important considerations regarding when not to perform the Fish Pose, and finally, addressing common questions and doubts about Matsyasana that may arise along the yogic journey.

What is Matsyasana a.k.a Fish Pose

Matsyasana also known as Fish Pose is a fairly well-known hatha Yoga position that focuses on your hips, chest, throat and abdomen. The name of the pose itself comes from Sanskrit, with “Matsya” meaning fish and “Asana” meaning pose. Interestingly, it is believed that this position is connected to the mythological legend of lord Matsya, the very first incarnation of lord Vishnu and his successful attempt at saving the universe from a catastrophic event. Matsyasana also known as Fish Pose has several health benefits and can prove to be beneficial for your Chakras as well.

What Are The Benefits Of Matsyasana a.k.a Fish Pose

Some of the benefits of Matsyasana are:

Matsyasana Helps You Fight Menstrual Pains: Dealing with menstrual pains is no easy task for a woman. Matsyasana can help with the same as it massages the organs which are subjected to menstrual cramps and regulates blood circulation in the body.

Matsyasana Makes You More Compassionate And Expressive: Matsyasana requires you to open your check and arch your neck, activating the heart and throat Chakras. Activation of the heart Chakra makes an individual more caring, compassionate and empathetic while doing the same for the throat Chakra makes an individual more expressive and personable.

Matsyasana Helps You Burn Fat: If you practise Matsyasana regularly, chances are you may become a slimmer version of yourself over time as it is believed that this pose increases the metabolic rate of the practitioner.

Matsyasana Helps You Tone Your Belly: Not only does Matsyasana help you burn fat faster by increasing your metabolic rate, it will also help you flatten your belly as well. However, in order to achieve that particular effect, you will need to do a variation of Matsyasana which involves raising of legs at almost a 45 degree angle.

Matsyasana Brings Relief To Your Neck: Matsyasana is also known as a counterpose to positions such as the Supported Shoulderstand, which puts a considerable amount of pressure on the neck. Since this position requires you to arch your neck as opposed to bend it forward, it alleviates any residual pressure on the neck that might have been left behind by the likes of Sarvangasana.

How To Do Matsyasana a.k.a Fish Pose

Matsyasana also known as Fish Pose is a fairly uncomplicated position, which means that you will be able to execute this position perfectly even if you are a beginner. However, this pose does require a certain degree of back strength and flexibility, therefore we would recommend that you warm up your back with the help of some preparatory poses. Two examples of these warm up poses are the Balasana and the Adho Mukha Svanasana.

Let us now take a look at the step-by-step guide for performing the Matsyasana. 

Matsyasana Step 1: Lie down across the length of your mat. Make sure that your feet are extended and your arms are by your side.

Matsyasana Step 2: Raise your upper body by a 45-degree angle and then support the same by planting your elbows on the ground.

Matsyasana Step 3: Inhale and simultaneously open up your chest.

Matsyasana Step 4: Drop the crown of your head till the time you can comfortably touch the ground with your head. If you are finding that to be difficult, adjust your elbows accordingly until you are able to.

Matsyasana Step 5: Stay in that position for a total of 15-30 seconds ot for as long as you are comfortable. Make sure that you breathe normally and smoothly during this time.

Matsyasana Step 6: Come back to your starting pose by slowly descending your upper body and simultaneously straightening the arms so that they are once again along your sides.

Repeat the above steps 2-3 times for best results.

When To Practise Matsyasana

You can practise Matsyasana also known as Fish Pose either in the morning or evening. This position can be done either in isolation or as a part of a yoga routine as well. If you are doing the same as a part of a routine, it is recommended for you to do Matsyasana after a pose which requires you to put pressure on your neck while bending it forward, as Matsyasana is also known as a counterposes for Yoga asanas like Salamba Sarvangasana. If the Matsyasana is a part of a Yoga routine, ensure that you have maintained an empty stomach and bowel for a minimum of 4-6 hours to avoid unnecessary breakage of flow.

Matsyasana Contraindications

There are certain circumstances under which you must either avoid doing Matsyasana also known as Fish Pose completely or do it only under the supervision and with the consent of a certified Yoga teacher. They are as follows:

  • If you have a neck injury or have had your neck operated on, you must avoid doing the Matsyasana.
  • If you have a back injury or have been operated on in that area, you should definitely stay away from Matsyasana.
  • If you have high or low blood pressure levels, stay away from Matsyasana.
  • Do not do the Matsyasana if you have a ligament injury in any part of your body.
  • Avoid this pose if you are prone to Migraine attacks.

Anatomy of Matsyasana a.k.a Fish Pose

The effects of Matsyasana also known as Fish Pose are felt right from the beginning, starting from the lower back, which you activate during the process of assuming the position. While resting your elbows on the ground to support your upper body, your biceps and triceps also begin to feel a small amount of pressure as well. At the same time, you begin to cause a stretch in your spine, a contraction in your back muscles as well as expansion of your neck muscles.

While talking about the front end, as and when you begin to assume the Fish position, you will begin to feel a stretch in your throat, chest and abdominal muscles as well since in order to achieve final form, you will be required to arch your back until you manage to touch the ground with your head.

While maintaining that position for the prescribed amount of time, you will begin to feel the stretching, contractions and the pressure build up all over your body.

And finally, when you come back to your original position, you put all of your muscles at ease. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Matsyasana a.k.a Fish Pose

Why Is It Called Matsyasana

Matsyasana is a Sanskrit word with two parts, namely “Matsya'' and “Asana”, meaning "Fish" and “Pose" respectively. This pose gets its name due to the fact that the shape of the practitioner’s body begins to resemble that of a fish while in position. Hence this pose is also known as the Fish Pose.

What are the techniques of Matsyasana?

Some of the alternative techniques of Matsyasana are:

Fish Pose With A Bolster: In this variation, the student keeps a bolster at the specific area where the head is supposed to make contact with the ground in order to provide additional support to the head.

Fish Pose With Bolster On Back: This particular variation sees the student keep a bolster under his/her lower back to give it some extra support.

Fish Pose With Blocks: This particular technique requires the student to keep a block underneath their head and upper back for support.

Fish Pose With Block Just For The Upper Back: This is your standard fish pose, with the exception of the presence of the block underneath the upper back for simply supporting the back.

Lotus Variation of The Fish Pose: This particular position requires the student to bend their knees and keep them bent throughout the repetition instead of keeping them straight.

How Can One Get Better At Matsyasana

One can get better at Matsyasana also known as Fish Pose with regular practice, further education and experimentation with new variations of this pose. If you would like to revise the steps involved in doing the Matsyasana or simply know how it is done, you can always take a look at a step-by-step guide for doing the pose here at BalanceGurus.

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