Fish Pose Misalignments: Common Misalignments

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Matsyasana (or Fish Pose) is a great release for the upper back and neck. This heart-opening posture is challenging because it involves stretching the muscles and fascia around the vertebrae in the thoracic spine and the cervical spine, as well as opening the front of the body.

This fundamental posture has many actions that require careful consideration to ensure the safety of your body.

Matsyasana can cause many anatomical alignments to be incorrect. So, the next time you practice this posture as a standalone posture or as a counter-pose to Shoulderstand, look out for the following:

Overweight Head

The Fish Pose is a tricky pose where the weight is placed on your head. You need to be very conscious of the muscles that support your head whenever you put weight on it.

How you can fix it: Rest your head very gently, softly, and consciously on the mat. Support your entire weight by engaging the muscles around you.

Even your legs should actively press against the floor to stimulate your whole body’s engagement. This will allow your head to gently make contact with the floor without crashing down on it. Your legs should also actively press the floor in order to engage your entire body. This will allow your head to gently make contact with it without slamming into the floor.

If you still feel pressure on your head, place a blanket rolled up under your back and rest your head against it. The same can be done by placing a block under your shoulder blades and resting your head on a second or mat.

You can disconnect your head from the floor.

Some practitioners, in stark contrast to putting too much weight on their heads, do not even touch the floor with their heads. While this may appear to be beneficial (at the very least, there isn’t a lot of weight on the heads), it actually causes excessive strain in the neck and the back because you are levitating too many pounds in the air. ).

How do you fix it? Follow these steps. Rest your head very gently, softly, and consciously against the floor. Maintaining full engagement of surrounding muscles to support your weight.

Overarching the Lower Back

The lower back (or lumbar spinal spine) is much more mobile than the upper back (or thoracic vertebrae). The upper back is attached to the ribcage for protection and stability, reducing mobility. However, the lower back is supported by only the muscles in the integral core system.

This is great for everyday mobility, but it can be dangerous when used in yoga. This happens when practitioners backbend simply by “hinging” off the hypermobile lower back without creating an arch in the upper spine.

While this motion may be effective for a short time, it can cause serious injury or pain to the disc fluid that is located between the vertebrae.

In order to compensate for the stiffness of the upper back, it is common to overarch the lower spine and barely arc the upper spine.

How you can fix it: Engage your core actively during Fish Pose and any backbend to protect your spine’s fragile discs. Imagine wrapping a corset all around your waist, pulling in your inner core muscles, and hugging your stomach button toward your spine.

Focus on the movements of your upper back (your spine thoracic). Imagine pulling your shoulder blades together as you imagine peeling open your heart. To feel the stretch in your chest and upper spine, try to extend your chest toward the ceiling.

Create an even curve along your spine rather than “bending” it at a single point.

Overstraining the Neck

The neck or cervical spine is another hypermobile area of your spine. The range of motion varies depending on the person. Some practitioners can “drop” their head back and collapse it into their neck.

Many people mistakenly think that they have done a backbend, when in fact, all they’ve done is create a “hinge” or a bend at the neck.

This is a common mistake in Fish Pose, as the neck is arched deeply in this position. It creates a stretch in the front of the head (as an alternative to Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock).

How do you fix it? Focus on creating a full-arched spine rather than bending from a single point. Close your eyes instead of jerking your head backward to look further behind you.

Slowly relax the crown of your head towards the floor while keeping it at this length. Instead of collapsing at the point where the head meets the torso, try to create a full-arched neck.

Continue to lengthen the back of the neck for the entire duration of the Fish Pose.

Matsyasana can be used to counter Shoulderstand, Chin Lock, or “reset” your spine. This asana opens the neck and heart and is both powerful and delicate at the same time.

Playing with Fish Pose, be kind to your body. While you strive to create the anatomically correct position for your body, keep in mind that no two bodies will be the same.

Listen to your breath to discover the most suitable variations for you.

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