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Traditionally Fish Pose is done with the legs in Padmasana. Because Padmasana is beyond the capability of many starting students, here we will work either with the knees bent, feet on the floor, or with the legs straight pressed against the floor.

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Inhale, lift your hips slightly off the floor, and move your hands, palms down, below your butts. Then rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands (and don’t lift them off your hands as you perform this present). Be sure to tuck your lower arms and elbows up near the sides of your torso.

Inhale and press your forearms and elbows firmly versus the floor. Next press your scapulas into your back and, with an inhale, lift your upper torso and head far from the floor. Then launch your head back onto the floor. Depending upon how high you arch your back and raise your chest, either the back of your head or its crown will lean on the floor. There need to be a minimal amount of weight on your head to prevent crunching your neck. (For even more about this, see the Beginners Suggestion below.)

You can keep your knees bent or align your legs out onto the floor. If you do the latter, keep your thighs active, and press out with the heels.

Stay for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing efficiently. With an exhalation lower your upper body and head to the floor. Draw your thighs up into your stomach and squeeze.


  • A traditional text that Matsyasana is the “destroyer of all conditions.”
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles (intercostals) between the ribs
  • Stretches and promotes the muscles of the tummy and front of the neck
  • Stretches and promotes the body organs of the tummy and throat
  • Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck
  • Improves posture