Do you spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer or driving? Check out Matsyasana or fish posture ~ a great way to counter the postural defects of rounded shoulders.
Matsyasana comes from Sanskrit word matsya, meaning “fish.” It is said that if you adopt the position in water, you will float quite easily (when in the advanced variation Fish in Lotus Posture). We spend most of our time in a forward position, that this posture is great to counter the postural defects of rounded shoulders and your cervical spine. Note: For maximum benefit of this posture, Fish should immediately follow Shoulderstand (Sarvagasana).
1) Creates expansion and stretching of the chest muscles, to help relieve upper respiratory congestion.
2) Expands rib cage, promoting deeper breathing.
3) Eases tension and improves spinal flexibility.
4) Promotes draining and opening of the sinuses, from the inversion of the head, stretching of the neck, and pressure placed on top of the head.
5) The thyroid and parathyroid glands are stimulated.
1) The most common error made is lifting the buttocks, rather than lifting from the center of your chest. The buttocks should stay down while in the posture.
2) Having the hands too high on the back, causing the shoulders to elevate toward the ears. Make sure the hands are beneath the thighs with the fingers pointing toward the knees.
3) The top of the head should gently rest on the floor, rather than hanging or lifted off the floor.
4) The legs should be together and relaxed, rather than tensed or bending the knees.
5) There is a tendency to breathe irregularly or force the breath. Focus on using your diaphragm to breathe and expanding the ribs while in the posture.
1) Start from from Corspe Pose (Savasana) and then bring your legs and feet together, keeping the knees straight. With your ams straight at your side, turn your palms face down and bring them beneath your thighs so that you are sitting on them.
2) As you inhale, bend the elbows and push them into the floor. While keeping the weight on the elbows, use the elbows to lift the center of your chest, until you are sitting half-way up. My teacher explained it best, by teling us to imagine a string attached to the center of the chest or a stick placed between your shoulder blades. Gently let your chin and neck fall back, with the head relaxed. Try to draw the shoulder blades together and bring your shoulders away from your ears. Make sure to keep the weight on the elbows, rather than on the head.
3) To come out of the posture, elongate your neck, lift the head slightly, and gently press on your elbows to lower yourself down.
Modifications and Variations:
1) Knees Bent – Sit in a cross-legged position, then put your arms down behind your knees and catch hold of your toes.
2) Fish in Lotus – This pose is an advanced variation of Fish. It is similar to the Knees Bent variation, except that it begins with Lotus Posture. The Fish in Lotus pose should not be attempted by beginners, or even by more experienced yoga students, until the full Lotus position can be held comfortably for a long period of time.