Matsyasana – The Fish Pose

Significance Of Pose

‘Mastysa (मत्स्य)’ in sanskrit is Fish and ‘asana (आसन)’ is posture. This asana resembles the fish. Traditionally, matsyasana (fish pose) is done in padmasana. But variations are there for practitioners of different levels. In beginning it can be done with straight legs on the mat.

It is a reclining back bend posture. So all the variations are designed focussing on this. Lets see how to perform the Fish Pose.

Traditional Matsyasana


  • Sit in Padmasana, the lotus pose.
  • take help of arms and elbows to support the body and bend back carefully.
  • place the crown of head on the floor. To do this lift the chest.
  • keeping elbows on the ground hold the big toes with your hands.
  • try to maintain the maximum arc of the back and crown on the floor
  • relax yourself in the posture, close your eyes and be in asana.
  • breathe slowly and deeply

Now to come back

  • Release your big toes.
  • Release the arc of back and position of head.
  • Take support of arms and elbows and sit back in padmasana
  • Release padmasana and relax.

Hold the matsyasana according to your capacity. One can start with few seconds to minutes.

Variations of Asana

Matsyasana Variation (Variation of Fish Pose)


  • Sit with stretched legs forward.
  • Use your arms for support and lean backward.
  • make sure crown of the head is on the mat and for this lift the chest.
  • Arch the back
  • Place your hands on the thighs or just keep them on the ground besides the thighs.
  • Relax and stay in the posture
  • Breathe deeply and slowly.

Initial position of the posture can be lying position instead of sitting with straight legs forward.

  • lie down on back.
  • with the support of arms and hands pressing the ground make arch
  • lift the chest and place the crown on the mat.
  • hands can be on thighs or besides thighs resting on the ground.

Stay in the asana according to your capacity and come back in reverse order.

This variation is suitable for the beginners. One can start with this and move to the traditional one gradually without hurting.

the counter pose for matsyasana (fish pose) is the sarvangasana (shoulder stand) and halasana (plough pose) where neck is in the opposite direction. Similarly matsyasana is the counter pose which is done after halasana and sarvangasana.

Benefits of Fish Pose

  • Matsyasana is a heart opener asana.
  • It promotes deep breathing and good for respiratory problems like asthma and all.
  • The fish pose is a immunity booster as it stimulates the thymus gland. See other poses for enhancing immunity.
  • It also regulates the thyroid gland.
  • Fish pose is a helpful pose for many abdominal ailments. Being in the posture gives nice stretch to the intestines and abdominal organs.
  • Very good pose for relieving constipation as it stretches large intestine and promote bowel movement.
  • Recirculates the blood flow in the back and good for back muscles.
  • Pelvic region gets good supply of blood in the fish pose.


  • Heart patients should avoid the practice or do under the guidance.
  • People having hernia, serious back problems and pregnant woman should avoid this yoga pose.

Note: While lowering your body with the support of arms, hands and elbows one should go slow and with care. Being in hurry and carelessness can lead to back or neck injury.

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