How To Do The Fish Pose And The Benefits

Ever wondered how to master the yoga pose? Want to know the health benefits of doing so? Read on to discover how to master the Matsyasana and neutralize any spinal pressure. 

How To Do The Fish Pose And The Benefits Of Doing

The fish pose is a yoga position that opens the chest, throat and abdomen. It neutralizes any pressure that has been placed on the spine during a shoulder stand or any other form of practice.

It is a deep stretch that enhances your overall mental, physical and spiritual health. The Sanskrit name for this pose is the Matsyasana which is derived from two words: ‘Matsya’ meaning fish and ‘asana’ meaning pose.

The standard version of the fish pose is performed by placing the legs in the lotus position, however, it can be varied depending on the levels that the students are at. 

The Benefits Of The Fish Pose 

This pose stretches out the front of your body and places focus on the throat, hip flexors, chest, abdomen and intercostal muscles. By doing this, it inherently strengthens your upper back and the back of your neck which helps to improve your overall spinal posture and flexibility.

This pose also benefits your lungs as it opens them up enough to improve your breathing and alleviate any respiratory issues. This pose also stimulates your abdomen, alleviating the muscles and inherently helping to alleviate any menstrual pain or stomach issues.

Practicing this pose with regularity will ensure that your body remains energized and ensure that any symptoms of fatigue are relieved accordingly.

Similarly to the Camel Pose (or Ustrasana), this pose is known as a heart-opening position, it releases your heart chakra (or energetic centre) and will therefore increase your spiritual vitality by proxy.

These chakras are often blocked through poor posture or slouched position and so practicing opening this part of the body will ensure that these chakras expand fully and improve your self-confidence and emotional vitality.

Any yoga positions that involve backhanding like the fish pose will be able to stimulate feelings in most practitioners so it is important to pay particular attention to your feelings whilst practicing this position.

If you remain closed-off, you will only create stiffness which increases your likelihood of injuries and/or mental pain.

Exercise Caution 

Exercise Caution 

You should always exercise caution when adopting this pose (as with all yoga poses), particularly if you are experiencing problems with regards to your blood pressure, including high or low pressure, a migraine or sleep issues.

You should also avoid this pose if you have a prolonged or recent back or neck injury. Working within your own limitations and abilities will ensure that you are kept safe at all times.

If you have any underlying health conditions, you should always consult with your doctor before practicing any yoga technique and do not push yourself further than your body will allow you to.


  1. Lie on your back with your legs fully extended and rest your arms besides your body with your palm facing downwards. 
  2. Press your forearms and elbows firmly into the floor, then lift your chest up to create an arch in your upper back. Lift your upper torso off of the floor steadily and tilt your head backwards in order to bring the crown of your head on to the floor.
  3. Try to hold this pose for five long breaths. In order to release yourself from the pose, press down onto the floor via your forearms in order to lift your head up off the floor.

    Then lower your torso to the floor whilst exhaling and bring your knees towards your chest to create a knees-to-chest pose (Apanasana). Hold this pose for a few breaths and then extend your legs fully prior to resting.


This pose is the perfect means of opening the front of your body and gaining full flexibility in your spinal area.

If you are struggling to complete this pose fully then there are many variations that you can implement in order to suit your individual needs. These are as follows:

If you are feeling any strain in your neck area, then lower your chest slightly and place a firm blanket beneath your head to ensure that your neck is fully supported throughout. 

If you are looking to extend your chest opening and are thus finding this pose too limiting, then begin by lying flat and lifting your hips.

Then, place both of your hands beneath your buttocks area with your palm facing down. Tuck your forearms alongside your torso and rest your buttocks on your hands. Lift your chest and come up to place the crown of your head on the floor, once again.

If you are an experienced student, then you can practice this pose by placing your legs into the Lotus Pose. Lie flat and then bring your legs upwards in order to fully complete this pose.

Placing a yoga block underneath the middle of your back is another means of achieving a restorative variation of the fish pose. Allow your arms, legs and throat area to relax as you drape your torso over the bricks.


The fish pose is one of the best ways of opening up your throat and chest areas whilst strengthening your back and ensuring that your heart and throat chakras are fully opened and aligned (to find poses that will balance your 7 chakras, read here).

These chakras need to be open in order to process the full breadth of your daily emotions and as such, this pose is the perfect means of ensuring that your spatial wellbeing is maintained during any turbulent period of your life.

You should always exercise caution when advancing into this pose as no yoga pose should be practiced without fully mastering the initial stages of yoga practice as rushing your process before you are ready will only increase your chance of incurring a serious injury.

If you feel like you are ready to take on the fish pose then the benefits of doing so are endless and you will undoubtedly feel the vitality that you deserve by practicing this position on a regular basis .

Laura Simmons
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