THE FISH: MATSYĀSANA
Because of tight clothing, many people experience a severe limitation of movement. This is true especially for the cervical region and the shoulder muscles. Neckties, tightly buttoned shirt collars and shoulder straps all exaggerate this condition. Tight pants can cause considerable havoc with blood circulation, breathing, and movements of the sacral and lumbar region, which can produce headaches and weaken the abdominal muscles. The postural defect is further enhanced by the modern tendency of spending long hours hunched over a computer, desk or car steering wheel.
To derive maximum benefit, the Fish should follow immediately after the Shoulderstand. It relieves any congestion and cramps which may have been caused by the Shoulderstand. As a counter-pose to the Shoulderstand, the Fish gives a backward stretch to the cervical and thoracic regions of the spine. The chest is thrown wide open; deep breathing is encouraged and enhanced.
After you have practiced Fish, you will find that you experience a much deeper relaxation in the resting position of Corpse Pose. The Fish Pose gets its name because it is easy to float in water when in the advanced (Fish in Lotus) variation. This is because the posture releases the inhibitions on the lungs thus allowing them a greater capacity to fill with air.
You should remain in the pose for at least half the amount of time that you spent in the Shoulderstand in order to balance the stretch. After practicing the Fish, you will experience a renewed sense of balance throughout your spine, encouraging deep relaxation throughout the body.
• Helps to tone the nerves of the neck and back area.
• Relieves stiffness in the neck & shoulders and increases blood supply to these parts.
• Corrects any tendency to round the shoulders.
• Strengthens the arm muscles.
• Expands the rib cage, so deep breathing may easily be practiced, which improves the capacity of the lungs, decongests the lungs, and relieves asthma.
• Together with Shoulderstand, helps to improve the functioning of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
• The wide opening of the rib cage reduces the pressure on the abdomen and recharges the solar plexus. This helps to overcome depression.