Stretch Your Upper Back and Neck with Fish Pose

fish poseFish pose, also known as Matsyasana, is one of my favorite heart-opening poses. This is because, as I arch my upper back and stretch my neck, I can really feel myself lift from the center of my chest. Although I know that this is a sensation that I’m supposed to feel in most heart-opening poses, it’s really hard for my body to remember.

Because of this, I like to practice Fish pose to help train my body. This practice helps me with other heart-opening poses. Here’s how to practice this rewarding heart-opener.

Fish Pose

  1. Use ujjayi breathing.
  2. Move off of your mat on to a relatively slick surface. You want the back of your head to be able to easily slide.
  3. Lay down on your back.
  4. Bend your knees, and engage your abdominals.
  5. Press your feet in to the ground, and lift your hips. Place your hands beside each other and lower your pelvis on to the tops of your hands. You should feel like your sacrum (tailbone) is pressing in to your hands. Once your pelvis is in place, straighten your legs.
  6. Inhale and engage your abdominals.
  7. Exhale and lift your heart toward the ceiling as you press in to your elbows to facilitate your lift.
  8. Place the crown of your head on the floor.
  9. Hold and breathe. Inhale to activate your muscles. Exhale to soften and let your heart-open toward the ceiling.
  10. To come out of this pose, press in to your forearms so that your head can lift. Tuck your chin and lower down. Bend your knees so you can press your feet in to the floor and lift your hips. Return your arms by your sides.
  11. Perform the spinal twist of your choice to reset your spine.

Fish Pose Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What do you like best about this pose:  the neck stretch or the upper back stretch? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.