Fish PoseEveryone’s favorite Fish Pose variation


Matsyasana (Fish Pose) generally shows up somewhere near the end of your practice without props, a solid explanation, or sufficient time in the posture to really get the benefits.  But with smart prop placement, you can hang out in the pose for several minutes.  As you actually relax into the pose, the props become your teacher, showing you exactly what this pose has to offer.

One of our loyal Udaya students was experiencing some tension in his chest after too many Vinysasas.  He reached out to me for some help.  This was my prescription.  His feed back:  ”That felt awesome!”  Your turn!

What you will need:

1 block

1 bolster or folded blanket (or both)


How to set it up:

Place your block on the narrow surface on your mat.  The long edges should be parallel to the long edges of your mat. Place your bolster or folded blanket  horizontally, at the top edge of your mat.  This will be your pillow.


To get into the pose:

Lower yourself onto the block, while supporting yourself with your arms.  Look at photo here.  Do you see that the block is supporingt the spine where ribs are, NOT the lower back.  Basically, it should fit between your shoulder blades and little bit lower.  Adjust the height of the bolster/blanket so that your neck is comfortable.  Everyone has different bodies, so there is not optimum height – just be sure your chin is not pushed too far toward your chest nor stretched too far back.  You may find that stacking a blanket on top of your bolster works best, particularly if you have a thin bolster.  You can also use a 2nd block as a pillow, but it will be quite firm.


What to do in the pose:

Let the arms rest out the side.  Be sure they aren’t above shoulder height.   If there is a big stretch across the chest or front of the shoulder, you can always elevate your arms on a blanket.  Focus on relaxing, not on actively stretching. Take deep breaths and relax.  Stay 3-5 minutes.   You may not feel much during the first minute.  Wait.  Allow the tissues to reorganize and adapt the stretch.


To get out of the pose: 

Bend your knees, put your feet on the floor.  Roll off the side of the block using your arms to support you.  Press yourself to seated.  Enjoy the effects.


Who this is good for:

Anyone who works on the computer, cares for children, does housework, does yard work, runs, cycles, plays sports, lifts weights, cross trains, builds, paints, draws, writes, studies, reads, does any activity with their arms in front of them… everyone!   We just spend too much doing stuff.  Even all those Chaturangas that you love may tighten you in front.  Balance your body and allow yourself to counter your daily activities with this great variation of Fish Pose.


This is not intended to replace medical advice.  Always consult a physician before beginning any exercise regimen.


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