Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

English Name(s)
Matsyasana, Fish Pose
मत्स्यासन / Matsyāsana
matsya: “fish”
āsana: “posture”

Physical Benefits

Matsyasana (mahtz-YAH-suh-nuh) expands the chest cavity, which in turn increases lung capacity, and encourages deeper breathing; which helps in asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. It increases blood supply to the head, nourishing the pituitary and pineal glands.

This pose also energizes the thyroid and parathyroid, which are the regulators of the body’s metabolism. It also removes stiffness in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions, increases nerve impulses and blood circulation in these areas, and gives a natural massage to the neck and shoulders. Matsyasana also corrects rounded shoulders.

Energetic Benefits

Matsyasana is an important pose in preparing the lungs to open for pranayama. This pose will increase the capacity of the lungs therefore resulting in a better breathing pattern and rhythm. When we breathe properly we think properly. The mind and the breath are closely connected. In the yogic system of pranayama we want to increase the length of the breath and increase retention of the breath as mentioned in the Yoga Sutras“bahyabhyantara-stambha-vrittirdesakala-samkhyabhihparidrshtodirghasukshmah.” When there is the retention of breath, the mind becomes still. Therefore the regular practice of this asana will prepare a strong body for pranayama.


Avoid this pose is you have high blood pressure or a migraine. If you have any neck injuries or pain do this pose with a bolster on your mid-back and a blanket to support the back of the head.

Going into the Pose

Meera Watts
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa, and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali), and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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