Matsyasana (Fish Pose) l Benefits and steps of Matsyasana


You might have read in a lot of sources that performing Matsyasana in water enables one to float like a fish. Yet I have never read any traditional yogic text to perform a yoga pose in water. Anyways! Fish Pose is an intermediate backward bending yoga posture. Since Padmasana is the base position for this posture it is not easy for even yoga intermediates.Though fortunately there is always an easier variation for several challenging yoga poses which is suitable to be practiced by beginners as well.

Practicing Fish Pose is a great way to increase the energy levels of one’s body and say goodbye to all that stress, anxiety and fatigue caused by a hectic daily schedule.

Which disease is cured by Matsyasana?

Matsyasana is capable of curing bronchitis and other respiratory syndromes.

Who should not perform Matsyasana?

People with high or low blood pressure should avoid this position. People who have recently had major surgery should also avoid this posture.

The Sanskrit name Matsyasana is derived from two words:

Matsya = Fish

Asana = Posture

How to practice Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

matyasana or fish pose

Variation 1

Starting Position: Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Practice this variation only if you have become comfortable in performing Lotus Pose.

  1. Relax the body in Padmasana taking long and deep breaths.
  2. Slowly move the body backward placing the right elbow and forearm on the floor carefully. Follow the same with the left arm.
  3. Taking the support of elbows and forearms, slowly lower your body placing the crown of the head on the floor.
  4. Arch your back as much as you can (without straining). Hold the feet with your hands.
  5. Ensure your head is placed comfortably, don’t put weight on it, simply place it on the ground.
  6. Close the eyes and relax the body. Take slow and deep breaths. Hold the final pose for a few seconds.
  7. Exhale and reverse the movements one by one to release the posture. Relax in padmasana for a few seconds.
  8. Practice with the other side by interchanging the position of the legs in Lotus Pose.

Variation 2

Since this variation doesn’t require sitting in Padmasana, it can be practiced by beginners as well.

  1. Lie flat on your back with the legs stretched in front of the body. Bend the knees.
  2. Inhale and lift the buttocks to place your hands under them, face the palms downward. Lower the buttocks on the back of your hands. Now straighten your knees.
  3. Keep the elbows and forearms firmly placed close to the body throughout the whole practice.
  4. Inhale and press the elbows and forearms against the floor to lift the torso.
  5. Lift the chest and arch the spine as much as you can comfortably. Place the crown of your head on the floor. Remember to not put pressure on your head.
  6. Close the eyes and relax the body. Take slow and deep breaths. Hold the final position for a few seconds.
  7. Exhale and reverse the movements one by one to release the posture. Relax the body.

Practice 3 times. Matsyasana is a counter-pose to Halasana (Plow Pose) and Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand). That’s because in these two poses the neck is stretched in the opposite direction, freeing any accumulated tension in the neck muscles.

Variations of Matsyasana

1. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Setu Bandhasana or Bridge Pose step 3 - Matsyasana

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is an inverted back-bending posture, also identified as the Bridge Posture or Setubanda. By relaxing the respiratory system and boosting blood flow to the artery walls, this yoga practice helps reduce arterial obstructions or heart attacks.

2. Ustrasana

All three steps of Camel pose or Ustrasana - variation of Matsyasana

Ustrasana, also known as Camel pose, enables you to achieve profound vertebral expansions without using your forearm to maintain weight. It’s also a rather more adaptable position.

Preparatory Poses:

  1. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
  2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  3. Shalabhasana ( Locust Pose)
  4. Kandharasana (Shoulder Pose)

Precautions for Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

  • Lower and raise the body in and out of the final position very slowly and carefully taking the support of elbows. Rushing this moment may easily result in a spine or neck injury.
  • If you suffer from any health issue presently, consult your doctor or physician before practicing a yoga regime and practice only in the presence of a competent yoga trainer.
  • People who suffer from any of this condition must avoid practicing Matsyasana: a migraine, back or neck injury, peptic ulcers, heart disease, hernia, high or low blood pressure.
Benefits of Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
  • Highly beneficial in curing abdominal ailments and constipation.
  • Intestines and abdominal organs are stretched and exercised.
  • Helpful in relieving inflammation and bleeding of piles.
  • Prevents respiratory disorders such as asthma and bronchitis.
  • Alleviates back pain by improving the blood circulation in the spine.
  • Improves the functioning of thyroid gland and develops strong immune system.
  • Stimulates the functioning of pelvic region by increasing blood flow in this area.
  • Increases vitality and preserves youthfulness.


  • If a person has lightheadedness or spinal cord difficulties, they should avoid performing this yoga practice.
  • People suffering from sclera and gastritis ulcers should also avoid performing Matsyasana.
  • The pose should only be attempted under the close supervision of a skilled yoga instructor.

Stay healthy stay strong and get the best out of life.

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