Matsyasana or Fish Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

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


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.

Matsyasana, or Fish Pose, is a classic yoga pose that is often included in beginner’s classes. This pose can be challenging for beginners, but with some practice, it can be mastered. The key to this pose is finding the correct alignment and using your breath to help you stay in the posture. Let’s take a closer look at how to do Fish Pose correctly.

The findings of this exploratory study suggest that 12 weeks’ yoga training programs are effective at increasing maximum oxygen consumption and vital capacity.

Muscle Focus

Fish Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Chest Muscles (Pectoralis)
  • Back Muscles (Neck and Spine Extensors)
  • Rotator Cuff Muscles
  • Abdominal muscles
  • Deep Hip Flexors (Psoas)

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • It helps to relieve digestive issues.
  • It is a heart-opening pose.
  • Improves lung capacity.
  • Improves blood circulation to the head.
  • Stimulates Thyroid Gland

Benefits of Matsyasana or Fish Pose

Benefits of Fish Pose

1. Improves Lung Capacity

Practicing Fish Pose helps to improve lung capacity because the pose opens up the chest and stretches the upper front of the body. This improves circulation to your lungs, which increases oxygen intake and stimulates lung function. Deep breathing activates all parts of your respiratory system, including getting deep into your diaphragm.

2. Stretches Neck Muscles

Fish Pose is a great neck stretch for people who spend many hours sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen or driving their car. It’s also good for anyone who has tight neck muscles from stress or tension, as it relieves pressure that builds up in this area over time. The posture can help reduce stiffness in the back and shoulders while improving range-of-motion within these areas too!

3. Improves Digestion

Regularly practicing Fish Pose helps to improve digestion because it stretches the muscles of the abdomen. This can help relieve constipation and menstrual pain, as well as other stomach-related issues.

4. Energizes the Body

The combination of stretching and strengthening in Fish Pose is energizing for the body. The pose stimulates the nervous system, which encourages better blood circulation throughout your body. It also reduces fatigue and anxiety, leaving you feeling refreshed and invigorated after practicing.

5. Stimulates Thyroid  Gland

The Fish Pose stimulates the thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism. This is beneficial for people who want to lose weight or improve their overall health.

6. Relieves Constipation

Fish Pose stretches the muscles of the abdomen, which helps to relieve constipation. Stimulating your digestive organs also encourages healthy bowel movements and can reduce cramping during menstruation.

7. Promotes Healthy Spine

The Fish Pose strengthens back muscles while stretching out tight ones in front-of-body areas like chest, shoulders, and neck region – all things that contribute towards promoting a healthier spine! It’s good for people with bad posture too because this asana forces you into good alignment so there’s no slouching here!

8. Opens Heart Chakra

Matsyasana is an excellent yoga pose for opening up the heart chakra. It allows emotional healing by releasing any negative energy stored in this area helping one feel more connected to their body and mind. Matsyasana or Fish Pose helps with depression, anxiety, grief, and anger issues that can be caused by blocked energy from this chakra point on our bodies which affects us all physically as well mentally if left unchecked for too long without proper treatment options available today like yoga!

9. Reduces Anxiety & Stress

Fish Pose is great for reducing anxiety and stress because it focuses your attention inward to the present moment rather than worrying about future events or past mistakes we’ve made in life – plus practicing this pose regularly will also help release pent up tension held within specific muscles throughout our bodies such as shoulder blades along with neck region just name few key areas where most people hold onto these emotions due increase amounts of sitting.

10. Corrects Rounded Shoulders

Fish Pose helps correct rounded shoulders by stretching the chest and activating back muscles.

11. Stimulates Pituitary and Pineal Glands

Fish Pose stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands, which are responsible for hormone production. This can have a positive impact on overall health, including regulating metabolism and sleep patterns.

12. Benefits in Asthma, Bronchitis, and Other Respiratory Problems

Fish Pose is beneficial for people with asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems because it increases lung capacity and encourages deeper breathing. It also helps to massage the neck and shoulders, which can improve circulation and reduce stiffness in these areas.


Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure or 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.


  • Matsya Asana with Lotus Legs (Fish Pose with Lotus Legs)
  • Fish Pose with Props

Preparatory Pose

  • Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose)
  • Fish Pose with Props
  • Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • Use a bolster or blanket in case of discomfort
  • Keep your head in the center.
  • Make sure not to strain your neck.
  • This Pose can be assumed with Padmasana (Lotus Pose) as well, however, in case of any discomfort keep your legs extended.

How to do Fish Pose

Step by Step Instructions of Practicing Fish Pose:

Step one Lie down on your back keep your legs together and straighten them. Place the arms alongside your body with palms facing down.

Step two – Press the forearms and elbows into the ground lift up the chest to create an arch in the upper back. Lift shoulders blade and upper torso off floor tilt head backward bring the crown of the head towards floor pressing through hand and forearms.

Step three – Keep thighs active and energized, press heels outwards hold for five breaths.

Step four – To release come back to starting position exhale and lower down slowly. Rest before repeating. Matsyasana or Fish Pose is a beginner’s pose that helps in stretching the spine and chest muscles with very little weight on the head. The key is to keep your thighs active and energized while pressing the heels outwards which will give you a deeper stretch in the pose. Hold for five breaths minimum to feel the benefits of this pose!

Mental Benefits of Fish Pose

  • Stills the mind.
  • Good pose for meditation.
  • Reduces fatigue and anxiety.
  • Allows emotional healing by releasing any negative energy.
  • Fish Pose can help with depression, anxiety, grief, and anger issues that can be caused by blocked energy from our heart chakra.

The Bottom Line

Matsyasana or Fish Pose is an excellent pose to start your yoga practice with as it warms up the body nicely before moving on to more strenuous poses. It’s also a great way to end the practice, as it releases any tension that may have built up during class. So why not add this pose to your routine today and enjoy all of its amazing benefits!

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.


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