Life offers many choices. Some of them move you along your path, others are just distractions. Be open to anything, but don’t feel pulled to follow every left turn that appears before you. You’ll end up moving in circles.
Sometimes, you reach a crossroads where it’s unclear which direction you should follow. Before you take a step in any direction, seek clarity. Go within, practice matsyasana, or fish pose, and find the trusted guide of your higher self.
Matsyasana activates sahasrara (crown) chakra, the place where your wisdom resides. When this chakra is functioning in harmony with the others, you will be able to distinguish your desires from someone else’s. The path you need to take will be clear. Fears fade away and certainty will take its place.
As you rest gently on sahasrara chakra in matsyasana, you create connection from your crown all the way down to your pelvic floor, where your strength lies. As you lengthen the front of the spine, you open vishudda (throat) chakra and anahata (heart) chakra, creating the opportunity for the spiritual part of you to lead the way.
Here at Hale Pule, we talk about asana with three designations: essence, anchor and strength. This is a simple tool to remember the intention of the pose, where your body is grounded and the muscles you engage for proper alignment. These components will support optimal energy flow and a sustainable practice throughout your life.
Matsyasana from the ground up
It’s common to see this pose taught with the legs extended, but doing it in that way doesn’t establish a connection to your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is the source of your emotional and physical strength, and engaging it prepares you to move into deeper poses. Get the most benefit by keeping your legs bent, heels beneath your knees.
1. Lie on your back. Bend your legs and place your heels beneath your knees, feet hip-width distance apart.
2. Place your hands on the back of the top of your thighs, near your buttocks.
3. Breathe and place your attention on your pelvic floor, the double band of muscles inside, just above the pubic bone. Pull on your legs as you press your elbows into the floor and lift your breastbone. Gently come to the top of your head on the floor. Hold for 15 to 20 breaths.
4. To release, pull on your legs as you keep your chest spread, lift your head and gently lay the back of your head down first. Relax the rest of your torso to the mat.
Common trouble spots
Feet jammed against buttocks. This puts unnecessary stress on the knee joints. Keep your heels under your knees. Practice using your sahasrara chakra to find this alignment without using a mirror and it will soon become natural.
Legs and feet together. This limits your ability to press into the feet for support and disturbs the natural flow of energy through your hips, knees and ankles. Keep your legs and feet hip-width distance apart.
Collapsing the chest. This is a common trouble spot for coming into and out of the pose. It shuts down anahata chakra and puts all of the work in your arms and away from the pelvic floor. As you come out of the pose, keep your chest broad and use the strength of the arms and attention on your pelvic floor to lift your sternum as you enter and exit the pose.