If you have read any of my other posts, or know me at all, you know that Matsyasana (Fish) is my favorite asana. For me, fish heals a multitude of ills. In fact, many ancient texts refer to Matsyasana as “destroyer of all diseases.” Whether active or supported, this pose relieves stiffness and tension in your neck and back.
This backbend pose also stretches the muscles in your groin (psoas), abdominals, and chest (intercostals), provides an opening at the heart and throat chakras, and stimulates the thyroid.
For those of us who spend most of our day hunched over a desk at work, or round our shoulders over a mobile device while engaged in a battle of wits playing “Words with Friends,” matsyasana helps correct our oft horrendous posture.
In my favorite variation of the active pose, I instruct my students to lie on their backs with their arms tucked closely by their sides, and roll their shoulders back and chest open. Then I have them place their wrists directly under their sit bones. This little adjustment can bring tremendous relief for carpal tunnel sufferers. On an inhale, press into the hands and forearms, draw the shoulder blades (scapula) together and down the back, and bring the torso and head off of the floor. Then, gently, place the head down on the mat leaving a nice arch in the back and open chest. To protect the neck, there’s very little weigh on the head. Continue reading