Ask the Expert: Nausea During Fish Pose

Why do you feel nauseated when you lean your head back in Fish Pose? An expert weighs in.

Answers to your questions about health, nutrition, anatomy, and more.

Q: Why do I feel nauseated when I lean my head back in Fish Pose?

A: You may feel queasy because your neck is under too much pressure. It’s important, when doing Fish Pose, to support the head and neck, both sensitive areas where blood vessels and nerves are concentrated. Nerves exit the brainstem and the spinal cord through the base of the skull and the cervical spine, reaching to sensory organs, the esophagus, and the diaphragm. Tipping the head back dramatically can restrict these nerves and cause nausea, dizziness, and lightheadedness. So make sure you work through the posture slowly while taking long, deep breaths to maintain adequate oxygen flow, and also that you bring your shoulder blades up, back, and down as you place your head on the floor. That way, you’ll support your head and neck, and won’t scrunch the cervical spine.

Satkirin Khalsa, MD
Founder of Integrated Health Medicine in Albuquerque, New Mexico