Pronunciation: (mot-see-AHS-anna)

Level: Beginner


1. Lying on your back with the arms along side your body and the legs a few inches apart, slide the hands palms down under the tops of the thighs, just below the buttocks. Have the elbows slightly bent, next to the sides of your torso.

2. Pressing into the elbows, use the arms to lift the chest up, arching the spine, and rolling on to the crown of the head. Do not use the head or neck to support the posture, use the arms, torso, buttocks and legs to continue to lift the chest towards the ceiling. Little or no weight should be on the head.

3. Breathe and hold for 3-8 breaths.

4. To release: slowly remove all of the weight off of the head and gently lower the back of the head, the neck and then the spine back down to the floor. Remove the hands from under the legs.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Fish pose deeply opens the chest and increases flexibility of the spine. Fish also stimulates the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic arm, shoulder, neck or back injury or inflammation.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: Place 2-3 folded blankets under the upper back to support the posture without using any effort. Make sure the head is supported on the floor or the neck is resting on the blankets. Relax into the blankets and breathe deeply.

Variations: A) Have the arms alongside the torso with the palms lightly holding outsides of the upper thighs. B) Have the arms alongside the torso with the elbows pressing down and the fingers pointed up. C) Have the palms together in front of the heart in Anjali Mudra. D) Have the arms raised up with either the palms together or the fingers interlaced with the index pointing up. E) Have the legs in Full Lotus with the hands binding at the toes.


Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Plow, Shoulderstand.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Wind Relieving pose, Joyful Baby, Belly Twist.

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Comments 1

  1. I have a neck injury and matsyasana keeps making it worse. Are there any alternative postures with the same benefits?
    (I practice ashtanga)

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