The Fish Pose, or Matsyasana, stretches the hip flexors and intercostal muscles of the upper body. It can relieve muscle soreness in the spine and neck.
The Fish Pose can be done by:
1. Start by lying on your back. Place your arms close to your body and press your elbows and forearms into the ground to lift your upper back and chest up.
2. Slowly rest the crown of your head on the floor. If it feels that there is too much pressure on your head or neck, press into your elbows and forearms a little more, to bring more weight into your arms rather than the neck. You could also try bringing your head slightly back so that the back of the headrests against the ground. If you still feel too much pressure on your head or neck, place a blanket under your head or under your shoulder blades for support.
3. Activate the legs by pointing your toes and extending your legs away from your hips. The gaze of your eyes can look towards your nose.
4. Stay here for at least five long, deep breaths.
5. When you are ready to come out of the pose, press your forearms into the mat and allow the head to come off the floor. Then carefully lower the back and lie back down on your back with your arms alongside the body.
Read the following cautions to stay safe:
• Do not perform this pose when experiencing serious headaches, insomnia, lower back pain, blood pressure issues or when you have a serious neck injury.
• If you are concerned about anything with this pose, please consult your physician about whether this practice is good for you.
• It is important that you do not feel too much pressure on your head and neck when performing this pose. You can reduce pressure by resting the back of your head instead of the crown. This also means the backbend will have a smaller arch. You could also use a rolled-up towel or blanket and place it underneath the head.
• If the backbend is too much of a challenge, you can take a rolled-up towel, blanket or cushion and place this underneath your shoulder blades.