Backward Bends


Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Fish Pose
Level: Advanced

Matsa = a fish. Matsya = related to or coming from a fish.

If you are unable to do full Padmasana (Lotus Pose), the pose can be done with the legs bound together with a belt in Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose) or Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose).

Organizing the Pose


  1. Sit in Padmasana (Lotus Pose).
  2. Exhale and lie back on the floor. If the hips are tight and the legs pop up, support them with a bolster or blankets.
  3. Hold onto the feet, arch the back to lift up to the top of the head and tuck the elbows underneath you.
  4. Hold the pose for 20 to 60 seconds.
  5. Alternatively, keep hold of the feet with the back flat on the floor, or reach the arms overhead. (See below.)
  6. Lift up out of the pose, uncross the legs and do the second crossing.

Practice Points


  • Soften and widen the buttocks and outer thighs.
  • Lengthen the inner thighs to the knees.
  • Stretch from the hip creases to the head.
  • With the back arched, widen the back ribs and roll the towards the head.
  • With the back flat, widen the back ribs and move them towards the floor.
  • Reach the side of the waist and chest towards the head.
  • Soften and widen the back of the neck.