Matsyasana - The Fish

Asana practice in Yoga Meditation is quite different from that of modern yoga studios. Matsyasana is described here for those participating in Yoga Mentoring with Radhikaji.

Matsyasana, the Fish pose is excellent for relaxing the inner hip and thigh muscles. It also makes the knees, ankles and feet more flexible, so that they do not ache or "fall asleep" during meditation. 

The Fish pose is also excellent to relax the neck muscles after Halasana, the Plough.

Matsyasana requires a great deal of flexibility of the lower limbs. Due to modern lifestyle and sitting on chairs most people find this posture extremely difficult. It is best to graduate slowly from the easier to the more difficult preparatory poses until one masters the final Fish pose. Caution is advised for those having knee or ankle injuries.

Preparatory Pose 1: Leg cradle

Sit cross-legged with the head, neck and trunk straight.

Cradle the left leg, holding the knee with the left hand and holding the foot with the right hand. Gently rock the leg from side to side, moving it from the hip.

Repeat with the right leg.

Practice daily for a minute or two. When you are comfortable doing this, you can move on to the next preparatory pose.

Preparatory Pose 2

This pose is similar to the leg cradle but requires more flexibility. 

Cradle the left leg by placing the foot in the bend of the right elbow and the knee in the bend of the left elbow. Interlace the fingers in front of the leg. 

Gently rock the leg from side to side, pulling it higher and closer to the body.

Repeat with the right leg.

Practice daily for a minute or two. After a couple of weeks of daily practice you should feel comfortable with this pose. 

Preparatory Pose 3: Ardha Padmasana

The Half Lotus posture is a preparation for the full Lotus posture.

Sit with the head, neck and trunk straight. Extend the legs fully in front of you. 

Bend the right leg, take hold of the foot and turn it upward. Place the heel firmly against the abdominal wall. 

Bend the left leg and tuck it under the right leg. 

Rest the hands on the knees in Jnanamudra, close your eyes and mentally observe your breath. If you feel discomfort let your attention mentally travel to the area feeling discomfort and gently ask your mind to relax that area.

Repeat the posture with the left leg on top and the right below.

Practice daily for a couple of minutes. 

Preparatory Pose 4: Padmasana

This pose is the full lotus, the pose known as Padmasana. Attempt this pose only when you are absolutely comfortable in Ardha Padmasana, the Half Lotus.

Sit with the head, neck and trunk straight. Extend the legs fully in front of you. 

Bend the left leg and take hold of the foot.  Turning up the sole of the foot place it firmly at the right groin.

Similarly fold the right leg, turning the foot upward and placing it firmly at the left groin. 

Both the heels should press firmly against the abdominal wall. 

Rest the hands on the knees in Jnanamudra, close your eyes and mentally observe your breath. If you feel discomfort let your attention mentally travel to the area of discomfort and gently ask your mind to relax that area.

Reverse the leg positions.

Practice daily for a couple of minutes. 

Matsyasana: The Supine Fish pose

Attempt the Fish Pose only when you are absolutely comfortable in Padmasana, the Lotus Pose.

Sit in Padmasana, the full Lotus position.

Exhaling, lean back and place the elbows on the floor.

Inhaling, arch the back, expand the chest and place the crown of the head on the floor. 

Take hold of the big toes with the index fingers and the thumbs. Keep the elbows on the floor. 

Breathe normally. Hold the supine fish pose for 10-15 seconds.

 

Release the legs and relax the body completely.

Return to the seated Padmasana position, reverse the leg positions and repeat the supine Fish pose. 

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