The traditional Fish Pose, or in Sanskrit Matsyāsana (mahts-YAH-sah-nah), is an intermediate asana that is great for activating the immune system through activating the thyroid glad. Below is a picture of how a traditional Fish Pose is practiced.
Practicing this asana in a Restorative Yoga class is similar, however, instead activating and increasing the responses of the immune system through activating the thyroid we actually help to calm the immune system. This is great for students who have allergies. For a breakdown of how to use props to practice this asana refer to your “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE” textbook as well as the video below.
Some additional benefits for this asana, depending on the variation that you practice, are below.
• Stretches and strengthens the chest, neck, shoulders, hips and psoas, which eases tension and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. (Especially in the variation in the video where blankets are used under the back)
• Opens the chest, stimulating the respiratory system and increasing lung capacity. This is therapeutic for students with asthma.
• Stretches and strengthens the back and neck and increases flexibility in the upper back. This also helps with mild back aches and improves posture.
• Stimulates the cardiovascular system, increases blood supply to the cervical and thoracic region, assists the parathyroid, pituitary and pineal glands, as well as increases circulation in the throat. This stimulates the thyroid gland, helps soothe menstrual discomfort, and aids with digestion and constipation. (Especially in the variation in the video where blankets are used under the back)
• Stimulates the nervous system, which reduces stress and anxiety, as well as relieves mild depression.
• Boosts energy, relieving chronic fatigue.
For contraindications, review the below.
1. Students with frequent headaches or migraines should not practice without guidance. If they do practice this pose, it should be done very slowly.
2. Students with a severe neck injury, back injury, shoulder or arm injury, severe spondylitis, are pregnant, have heart complications, have insomnia, or have high/low blood pressure should avoid this pose without the use of modifications or props.
3. If a student feels tightness in the neck or back while in this pose, they should stop immediately and rest in Corpse Pose (Savasana).
4. Students with general heart ailments may have difficulty breathing in this pose.
5. For traditional Fish Pose, and the variation where one block is used under the back, students with osteoporosis or osteitis should avoid this pose, as it can cause a compression fracture. If practiced, these students should consult their doctor first and only practice the variation that does not stretch the neck back.
Lastly, see below for the break down on the affected chakra and how the doshic balance is affected.
Vata This dosha is increased in this asana.
Pitta This dosha is increased in this asana.
Kapha This dosha is decreased in this asana.