How to do Matsyasana – Fish Pose

MatsyasanaMatsyasana fills the air in your lungs and lets you float like fish by doing plavini pranayama. It is highly recommended to perform this asana immediately after sarvangasana to create a balance in the body.

Why it is called So?

The way of folding the legs in this asana resembles the tail of a fish while the rest of the body represents its body and head. However, there is another reason: this position is excellent for floating in water. The position of the legs changes the center of gravity which means the head can be held higher above the water. This pose is being practiced by swimmers as a relaxed swimming.

Steps for to do Matsyasana:

Fish pose can be done either in padmasana or without padmasana.

  1. Sit in padmasana, lie flat on the back with the help of your elbows. Fold your elbows and bring your palms underneath the hips and the buttock area for lumbar support.
  2. Rest your body in this pose comfortably. Now raise your trunk and head by pressing the palms and elbows.
  3. Press your head on the ground in such a way that upper portion of the head (crown) touches the floor and trunk is making an arch or shape of bridge from the buttock. In this position your body weight is resting on head and the hip.
  4. Remember, lower part of the body is still in padmasana which will give it a fish like look. Once pose is formed, release the palms from underneath and try to hold the toes of both the legs from opposite hands i.e. left from right hand, and right from left hand.
  5. If you want, you can keep both the hands on the thighs. Expand the chest as much as possible to fill maximum air in the lungs.
  6. This is the final pose; maintain it as long as you feel comfortable.
  7. To return into the initial pose bring back palms again underneath, slowly slide your head and back straight on the ground, lie down comfortably, unfold the legs and stretch them out straight and relax.
  8. The final position may be held for up to 5 minutes, although 1 to 3 minutes is sufficient for general health.
  9. It is important that the body is slowly lowered and raised into final position by using the arms.
  10. The movement should be performed with control and care as it is very easy to injure the spine.

You can do the same pose without being in the padmasana with legs outstretched.

Variation 1

In this variation your position of the hands will change. Interlock the fingers of both hands. Place the hands behind the head and rest the back of the head in the open palms.

Variation 2

  1. Sit with the legs stretched forward.
  2. Fold one leg and place one foot on the opposite thigh as in the half lotus pose.
  3. Keep the other leg straight in front of the body.
  4. Slowly bend backward, using the elbows for support, and lower the crown of the head on the floor.
  5. Hold the foot of the bent leg with both hands.
  6. Try to make an arch of the back as much as possible.
  7. Relax the whole body and close the eyes. Remain in the final position comfortably as long as possible and then return to the starting position.
  8. Repeat the same pose with the other leg folded.
  9. You can also rest the back of the head on the floor instead of the crown.


Variation 3

  1. Stretch both legs straight in front of the body.
  2. Bend backward using the elbows or arms.
  3. Rest the top of the head on the floor.
  4. Arch the back and place both palms on the thighs or on the floor.
  5. Return to the starting position after some time in the final position.


Breathe deeply and slowly in the final position.


  1. It gives massage to the neck and the shoulders, and removes stiffness.
  2. It cures constipation, asthma as it encourages deep respiration, and the evil effects of masturbation.
  3. Helpful in the backache and cervical spondylitis.
  4. Good to stimulate the glands in the brain, and feel rejuvenated. Strengthen your immune system.
  5. Stretches the intestines and abdominal organs. If you do this asana after drinking a few glass of water, it will remove constipation.
  6. Relieves piles problem.
  7. Youthfulness and vitality are increased.


  1. Should not be practiced by someone with neck injuries.

Gautam Trehan

Would love to hear from you! You can write/ask me anything! at [email protected] Happy Reading!