Fish Pose - Matsyasana

Fish Pose - YanvaYoga


Fish Pose or Matsyasana (maht-see-AHS-uh-nuh) in Sanskrit, comes from two words: “Matsya” meaning “fish” and “Asana” meaning “pose”/ It is a beautiful heart-opening posture that strengthens and lengthens the upper body.

It is usually used as the counter-pose to Shoulderstand ( Sarvangasana) because it neutralizes pressure on the neck and spine, but it is also a deep stretch with many benefits in its own right!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Begin by lying down on your back.
Step 2
Come up to your elbows with your forearms flat on the mat and your upper arms perpendicular to the floor.
Step 3
Keep your forearms in place and puff up your chest by rolling your shoulders back and tucking your shoulder blades firmly onto your back. You should feel your body creating a backbend.
Step 4
Press your palms into the mat. You can tuck your hands under your butt if that feels like a more stable position for them.
Step 5
Lower the crown (very top) of your head back until it comes to the floor, opening your throat.
Step 6
Keep your legs engaged and your toes active throughout.
Step 7
To come out, press strongly into your forearms and raise your head off the floor. Then release your upper body to the mat.

Benefits and Contraindications


Stretches the chest and the front of the throat

Opens the pectorals, hip flexors, and intercostal muscles between the ribs

Stimulates organs in the throat and abdomen

Strengthens the upper back and neck musculature

Opens the accessory muscles of breathing

Releases tension in the thoracic spine and mid-back


Back and Neck Injury or Surgery

High or Low Blood Pressure




Modifications, Props and Tips

  • To avoid straining your neck, reduce the intensity of the backbend or place a thickly folded blanket under the back of your head. Keep in mind, students should not put their full weight on their heads.
  • If the backbend feels too difficult, try supporting your back on a thickly rolled blanket, foam roller, or blocks. This makes sure your throat remains soft.
  • To increase the challenge in this pose, slide your hands out from underneath your buttocks and bring them into Anjali Mudra


  • Fish In Lotus Pose
  • Supported Fish Pose
  • Fish Pose on blocks

Top Follow-Up Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.