Supported fish is a favorite pose for many of my students. It’s extremely relaxing and is an outstanding heart opener, and at times, a throat chakra opener. It is one of the more gentle back bands that works to stretch the thoracic region. According to my yoga teacher training alma mater, the traditional fish pose stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid. Plus, “a traditional text says that Matsyasana is the ‘destroyer of all diseases.’”
This pose activates the Lung and Large Intestine (metal), Stomach, and Spleen (earth) meridians.
As Sarah Powers, author of “Insight Yoga” says, “Yin yoga is a wonderful practice both for quieting the active mind and for encouraging the prana or Qi(chi) to consistently flow through the six main meridians…”
When we add a small bolster to lift our heart in the fish pose, we can fully relax our muscles for several minutes, which is one of the goals of Yin. The head should remain on the mat, except for those with cervical spine issues who may want to place a pillow or block under the head. As always, consult your yoga therapist for contraindications and to determine which poses are best suited for your particular physical and emotional needs.
For more about the benefits of Yin Yoga in general, visit my blog spot, www.TheNamasteCounsel.com/yoga-blog, and enter the words Yin Yoga in the search window.
For the hatha variation of the fish pose, no props are used. The arms are down by your sides, palms face down. With elbows bent and hands under your bottom, push into your forearms and use your back muscles to lift your chest up as high as possible. Maintaining a deep arch, let the head drop back. Keep the knees straight, feet together but relaxed. There should be no weight on the head, but your hair may lightly touch the mat.