Photo of Maggie Anderson taken by Maggie Anderson
Fish pose is commonly followed by the Shoulder Stand pose. It’s a great counterpose. This is an amazing pose that seems to tap into your entire Chakra system. A great heart opener and back-bend. And a funny synchronicity occurred when I was describing this pose. I went to yahoo for a moment and right there was a photo of a fish and its story about really not being extinct (as they thought for 70 years!) So do this pose, it’s a great pose and don’t allow *it* to become extinct in your practice. It holds such tremendous value physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Directions on how to come into the pose:
To come into Fish pose, lay flat on your back on the mat. Bring your hands under your buttocks palms facing the mat. Rest your buttocks on the back of your hands and do your best not to lift your rear end off the hands or mat during this pose. Legs are straight and activated. Feet pointed. From here the weight will fall into your elbows and forearms. You will be arching and lifting your back up while allowing your head to fall back and the crown of your head rests lightly on the mat. There is no weight in the head, only the forearms. Drop your shoulders back and down. If tilting your head back is uncomfortable take it where it is comfortable for your neck. Modify where you need to and always honor the wisdom of your body. Tilt your pelvis to assist the back into its arch and if you like take a gentle lift and hold in the pelvis. Remember to breathe. Hold for a minute or two and come out fully refreshed. Bring your knees into your chest and give them a nice hug.
You may try working with Ouija breath here. Breathing deeply while constricting the throat to make a sort of ocean sound in the back of the throat. The focus on the breath keeps you breathing and oxygenating the body, as well as fueling yourself to hold the pose. Remove thoughts here. Only be. Hold for a 30 seconds to a minute or longer if you’d like. Then slowly lower back down and shake the legs, especially the leg you were balancing on. Then do the same on the other side…
When not to do this pose or to modify / Contraindications:
Any neck, head or back issues. This is also not a great pose if you have a migraine or insomnia. Listen to your body and it will tell you if it’s able. If you feel strain or pain, come out. Sweet discomfort is all we look for is most poses. And for this particular pose even that is a bit much because this is more of a stretch and hold allowing for an opening in the chest and neck.
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