Matsyasana, or "Fish Pose," is nearly always recommended as a counterposture to Shoulderstand. A typical sequencing in a basic yoga session includes Bridge Pose followed by Shoulderstand, which flows into Plow Pose, and is followed by Fish Pose. Fish Pose provides a strong stretch to the chest area, allowing it to expand and fill with oxygen in a way vir-Fig. YPS.14: Fish Pose tually unparalleled by any other exercise, yogic or otherwise.
To prepare for Fish Pose, bring your legs and feet together while lying on your back. Place your arms close alongside your body, palms facing down just outside of your hips. Gently bending your upper arms and pressing onto your elbows, exhale and lift between the shoulder blades as your chest forms an upward arch. Let the top of your head rest on
the floor. Take several deep breaths in this position. Feel your lungs and rib cage expand as you experience the rich benefits of Fish Pose. Allow the weight of your upper body to be supported primarily by your elbows and only secondarily by your head. When you're ready to release from Fish Pose, exhale as you gently lower your back onto the floor.
If you are just beginning to practice Fish Pose, try holding the asana for several breaths. With practice, see if you can hold the position for several minutes. You may find it more comfortable to place a folded towel or pillow under your head as your perform this asana.
Oxygen is the fuel that the body uses to accomplish virtually all of its activities. By performing Fish Pose, you are filling up your lungs with an extraordinarily rich supply of oxygen. After you've practiced this pose, take a few moments to see how you feel. Do you feel like a fish floating on your back in water? Are you more invigorated? Energized? As your day progresses, see if you notice any difference in your energy levels and breathing patterns.
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