How to say Matsya in Sanskrit
matsya = fish
Fish Pose Step-by-Step Instructions
- Begin on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted beneath your knees.
- Place your feet hip-distance apart and parallel, with your knees also hip-distance apart.
- Spin your inner thighs down toward the floor to broaden across your lower back.
- Pressing down with your feet, lift your hips without letting your knees splay apart.
- Place your hands on the floor palms down with your thumbs touching, then lower your buttocks onto your hands.
- One foot at a time, slide your feet forward so that your legs are straight.
- Have your big toes touching and a very small amount of space between your heels.
- Press forward with your big toe mounds to engage your quadriceps/
- Continue to spin your inner thighs down so that your legs remain neutral.
- Tuck your outer shoulders under, pinning your elbows into your midline.
- Pressing down from your palms to your elbows, inflate your upper body by lifting your shoulder blades and thoracic spine into your chest.
- Amplify these actions to lift your sternum toward the ceiling, then drop your head back and lower onto the crown of your head.
- Engage your upper back muscles to open and support your chest from behind.
- Prioritize the lift of your chest so that the curve of your neck is a continuation of the curve of your upper back.
- Maintain active, neutral legs by pressing into your big toe mounds and descending your femurs.
- Continue to press down firmly with your palms and your elbows so that the weight in your head is light.
- Emphasize the movement of your thoracic spine rather than relying on the easy mobility of your neck.
- Hold for 5–10 breaths, then lead with the chest to raise the head and release back to the floor.
Fish Pose Cues
Contraindications and Cautions for Fish Pose
- High or low blood pressure
- Serious lower-back or neck injury
Benefits of Fish Pose
mobilizes and strengthens the upper back and neck; strengthens the quadriceps; opens the shoulders in extension; stretches the chest
3 Ways to Modification for Fish Pose
Place a block or a rolled blanket horizontally beneath the shoulder blades to support the lift of the chest; use two blocks, one beneath the head and one beneath the shoulder blades if the cervical extension feels too strong; place a looped strap at mid-thigh to prevent the legs from externally rotation; practice with the big toe mounds pressing into a wall to animate the legs
While Sarvangasana isn’t exactly a preparatory pose, Matsyasana is often sequenced as a counter-pose after Shoulderstand. Other preparations for this pose might include:
- Baddha Konasana
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
- Supta Virasana
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
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