Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

The Sanskrit word, Matsyasana comes from a union of ‘matsya’, which means fish, and ‘asana’, which means position. It is also referred to as Fish Pose in English. In Matsyasana, first stretch both the legs and lie down on your back using elbows for support. Open your heart as you inhale. And as you exhale drop your head all the way down to the mat. Slide your elbows forward if unable to reach the mat in the first attempt. 


The pose benefits not only help in boosting energy but also control anxiety. Frequently performed as a counter pose for the Shoulder Stand or Sarvangasana, it is a component of the Ashtanga primary series as well. To learn more about Matsyasana and its benefits refer to the main article.


Yoga helps rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. It is made up of a number of breathing techniques and poses. This write-up seeks to shed light on one particular yoga pose i.e., Matsyasana.

What is Matsyasana?

Matsyasana or Fish Pose, helps boost your body’s energy and fights feelings of fatigue. This pose helps stretch your upper body muscles.

Types of Matsyasana

If you find that the traditional form of Matsyasana is hard to accomplish, you can utilise a prop such that it is easier for you to do. Variations of Matsyasana have been examined below.

  • Matsyasana with Palms Placed Closer to Shoulders

Here you are required to place your palms closer to your shoulders as they provide your neck with additional support.

  • Matsyasana with a Blanket Below your Head

You can place a blanket below your head such that your lower back and neck aren’t as vigorously stretched.

  • Matsyasana with Bolsters Below Lower Shoulders

Practitioners can place bolsters below their lower shoulders such that they can push their head back with ease and still be able to stretch their neck and shoulders.

  • Matsyasana with Blankets Below Hips

This variation involves blankets being placed below the hips to reduce the strain they might otherwise experience.

  • Ardha Matsyasana

This variation of Matsyasana translates to “half lord of the fishes pose”. It involves the practitioner being seated and twisting his /her body such that his/ her posture improves.


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Benefits of Matsyasana

Matsyasana benefits your body in a number of ways. Some of these benefits have been discussed below.

  • Helps Stretch Your Body

When you perform Matsyasana you stretch your abdominal and chest muscles. This yoga pose also helps massage your abdomen and chest and improves the blood circulation to these regions.

  • Improves the Functioning of the Thyroid Gland

The Matsyasana pose helps regulate the functioning of the thyroid and thymus glands which in turn improves your body’s metabolic and immune systems.

  • Enhances the Health of your Reproductive Organs

When you practise the fish pose, blood circulation to your reproductive organs increases. This pose helps bring relief to those who suffer from premenstrual syndrome.

  • Reduces Discomfort

Should you happen to experience any abdominal ailments such as constipation, this yoga pose will help you feel better.

  • Benefits Those with Respiratory Issues

Since this yoga pose encourages you to breathe deeply, it helps people who suffer from respiratory issues.

How to Practice Matsyasana?

Those seeking to practice Matsyasana will be pleased to note that the steps for this yoga pose have been provided below.


  • Step 1. You must begin this pose by lying down on your back. Your feet must be placed together, and your hands should lie relaxed alongside your body.

  • Step 2. Place your hands below your hips with your palms facing down. Bring your elbows closer toward one another.

  • Step 3. Next, you must breathe in and lift your head and chest up.

  • Step 4. You must keep your chest elevated as you lower your head backwards such that the top of your head touches the floor.

  • Step 5. With your head gently touching the floor, firmly press your elbows into the ground such that your weight rests on your elbows as opposed to your head. Now, lift your chest up from between your shoulder blades and press your thighs and legs towards the floor.

  • Step 6. Try to maintain this position for as long as you can while you take gentle, long breaths in and out. Each time you exhale, relax your posture.

  • Step 7. End this pose by lifting your head up and lowering your chest and head down to the floor. Bring your hands back to the sides of your body and relax.

Beginner’s Tip for Matsyasana

If beginners find it hard to adopt this pose, they can begin by lying on their back with their face upward and then folding their legs.

How Often Should I do Matsyasana?

The Matsyasana pose should be held for no longer than a minute or two. Matsyasana should be practised 2 or 3 times a day. Practitioners should be careful that they don’t overdo this pose.

Precautions to Take to Perform Matsyasana

While you might be eager to perform Matsyasana it is important that you first take into account the following considerations.


  • People who suffer from low or high blood pressure should avoid this yoga pose.

  • If you have a neck injury or have injured any part of your lower back, you should not attempt the fish pose.

  • Individuals experiencing a migraine should avoid attempting this pose.

  • If you suffer from severe spondylitis, you should not practice Matsyasana.

  • Pregnant women should not attempt to do this yoga pose.

  • Owing to the fact that this yoga pose requires you to breathe deeply it should be avoided by those who have underlying heart conditions.


Matsyasana is a yoga pose that several people practice in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. Yet regardless of how many precautions we may take, we may still end up falling sick or can sustain an injury. In order to be financially protected in such scenarios, it is important to invest in a good health insurance plan. These plans provide coverage in case you fall sick or accidentally injure yourself. 



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FAQs on Matsyasana

What is the English name for Matsyasana?

The English name for Matsyasana is “Fish Pose”.

List two benefits associated with the practice of Matsyasana?

Two benefits associated with the practice of Matsyasana include the following.

  1. Reduces Discomfort –

Should you happen to experience any abdominal ailments such as constipation, this yoga pose will help you feel better.

  1. Benefits those with Respiratory Issues –

Since this yoga pose encourages you to breathe deeply, it helps people who suffer from respiratory issues.

Is there a variation of Matsyasana that can be performed sitting down as opposed to lying down?

Yes, there is a variation of Matsyasana that can be performed sitting down as opposed to lying down. It is called Ardha Matsyasana. 

Can pregnant women perform Matsyasana?

Pregnant women are advised not to perform Matsyasana.

How long should you aim to hold the Matsyasana pose?

You should aim to hold the Matsyasana pose for 20 seconds. Once you gain more exposure to this yoga pose you can aim to hold it for a minute or two. 

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