My second asana I chose for my homework assignment is Matsyasana, “Fish Pose.” I have never enjoyed this asana because it feels awkward for my neck. A few years ago, I had seen a chiropractor at a center that put me in two contraptions as methods of reconstruction for my back and neck. Three times a week I had an exercise where I was to sit in a chair with my head back to train the curvature of my cervical spine to be corrected. As weeks continued, weights were added to strengthen my neck muscles. Although this was uncomfortable for me, it was extremely helpful. "Fish asana" is a pose for me that feels similar to this neck therapy exercise. This asana opens the front of the body (throat, chest, abdomen, hip flexors, psoas and intercostals), strengthens the upper back muscles and back of the neck, and helps spinal flexibility and posture. It assists with respiration by opening the lungs, heart chakra and throat chakra.
Almost every week I practice this difficult asana in hot yoga class. The teacher has us sit with our knees bent and asks us to make a “W” with our hands and place is under our gluts so we are essentially sitting on our hands. We then keep our elbows in as we slowly bring our head back and place our crown on the floor. We then bring our legs up, as we were in boat pose, and stretch them out and in a few rounds before gently exiting the pose. To get into Fish pose, you may also be on your back with your palms down and beside you before lifting your head back to let your crown rest on the floor.
There are a variety of modifications for this asana, all with the crown on the floor. Other positions in this pose include: bringing the legs in a 60 degree angle, bringing your hands to prayer position at your heart, or bringing hands and feet in the air.
The traditional pose is with legs in Lotus position and resting on the floor. As you can see in my photos, I am far from accomplishing this position as I have tight hips. With much practice, I hope to transition into this advanced position, as I am a Pisces :)