15. Matsya – sana
Posture: Matsya-asana – The Fish Pose
1. Lie flat on the back in the shava-asana.
2. Keeping the buttocks on the floor, inhale and raise the head, shoulders, back and upper arms off the floor arching the back and raising the chest up. Tilt the head back and place the top of the head flat on the floor.
3. Raise the elbows off the floor bring your hands up just below the chest and join them at the palms with the fingers pointing straight up (form the anjali-mudra or salutation hand gesture). Hold for the duration of the inhale breath or breath gently through the nostrils to remain in the posture longer.
4. Return to the shava-asana.
The matsya-asana creates a great expansion and stretching of the chest which helps relieve upper respiratory congestion as well as benefits the heart.
Since this is not a difficult posture, it is recommended that you breath while holding it for between two and four minutes. If you are uncomfortable breathing, hold the posture for the duration of the inhaled breath. Repeat two or three times.
There is one major variation in the matsya-asana and it is a bit more challenging than the one described above (illustrated above).