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Hatha yoga
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Cervical Spondylosis means, loss of forward curvature (Lordosis) of the spine. The natural shape of the human neck is a backward curve.

We rarely have the habit of working with keeping the head, neck, chest, and spinal column in one line. We habitually tend to keep our neck in a forward curve when we work, chat, watch television, or sleep. The fallout of this habit is Cervical Spondylosis. It is also related to wear and tear – due to one’s profession, faulty postures, using a thick pillow, the habit of reading or watching TV in a lying position, mental tension, a sedentary lifestyle, or lack of exercise.

The spine becomes straight, due to repeated pressure exerted on the spine. As a result of this, the internal structure of the disk gets deranged, resulting in the loss of the substance that cushions the disc. The movement of the neck shoulders and back becomes very difficult and painful. To cure this problem, one needs to keep in mind the curvature of the neck, and give it extension as often as possible. For that, Matsyasana is very much beneficial.


The word, Matsya, means fish. This posture is dedicated to Matsya, the Fish and the incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu, the source of maintainer of the Universe and of all things. It is related that once upon a time, the whole earth had become corrupt and was about to be overwhelmed by a Universal Flood. Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a fish to save the world from the Flood.


There once lived a wise king named, Manu. One day, when Manu was bathing in the river, a little fish sought shelter in his cupped palms. “Save me, it said, “and some day I shall help you.” Amazed – Manu placed the fish in a pot of water. Overnight, the fish outgrew the pot. So, Manu placed it in a well. Very shortly, it grew too large to live in the well. Astonished, Manu placed this magic fish in a large lake, where it again became too large. Then, Manu led it the river Ganga. The fish continued to grow. Manu now realized that this fish could be none other than the great Lord Vishnu. Reverentially, he took it to the ocean. Pleased with Manu’s dedication and devotion, the fish confirmed that it was, indeed, a form of Lord Vishnu. It warned Manu of an approaching flood, which would drown the whole earth. It instructed him to build a ship and to load it with the eggs and the young of plants, insects, birds, mammals, and all other living creatures. Manu wisely followed the divine counsel and the world was saved.


Matsyasana is a lying (supine) pose, and gives a backward stretch to the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions of the spine, and expands the chest fully. It is a counter posture of Sarvangasana. Those who are forbidden to perform Sarvangasana (the Shoulder stand), can perform this particular posture, especially those who are suffering from Cervical Spondylosis. For them, Matsyasana is boon. It can be performed by sitting in Padmasana, Vajrasana, or with the legs straight position. In all the three alternate poses of Matsyasana, the crown of the head will touch the ground. This posture fills the lungs with air and increases lung capacity, just as a fish fills its gills with air.


• Sit in Padmasana pose.

• Slowly take the help of your elbows; lie down on your back completely.

• Place the hands down beside the head, fingers pointing towards the shoulders.

• Taking the help of your hands, inhale, lift the chest slightly, tilt the head backward, and place the top of the head on the ground.

• Deepen the arch, by lifting the chest and neck up.

• Catch hold of your big toes, with the index and middle fingers, making a ring with the thumb.

• Place the elbows on the floor; knees must be on the floor.

• Hold the position as long as it is comfortable and continue normal breathing.

• When done, release the toes; taking the help of your hands, straighten your head.

• With the support of your elbows, sit up in Padmasana. Then, lie down and relax in Shavasana.


This variation is in Vajrasana position and follows the same technique as described above. Keep the knees touching each other in Vajrasana posture; the hands should be placed on the thighs.


This simple variation of Matsyasana can be done by the young, as well as the elderly people, without any worry, and will give all the advantages of traditional Matsyasana.

• Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent; feet on the floor.

• Inhale, lift your hips slightly off the floor, and put your hands under your tailbone, with your palms facing the floor – your thumbs touching each other.

• Then, rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands (don’t lift them off your hands as you perform this pose). Try to adjust your forearms, and elbows, under the spine properly.

• While pressing your forearms and elbows firmly against the floor, inhale, draw your head backward, and place the top of the head on the floor.

• Deepen the arch by lifting the chest up.

• Your weight should rest on your elbows. There should be a minimal amount of weight on your head.

• Breathe normally all the while, keeping your legs and lower torso relaxed.

• To come out of the pose, exhale, lift your head, and place it gently back down – then release the arms.


• Sometimes, beginners strain their neck in this pose. If you feel any discomfort in your neck or throat, either lower your chest slightly toward the floor, or put a thickly folded blanket under the back of your head.

• People suffering from heart disease, hernia, any spinal problems, or pregnant women, should practice this Asana under the guidance of an expert.


According to a traditional text, Matsyasana is considered as the destroyer of all diseases.

• Blood circulation is increased as your cervical, thoracic, and lumber regions are stretched. Your back muscles are also strengthened. It is beneficial to those suffering from cervical spondylosis, neck pain, and stiffness.

• The Asana does wonders for your respiratory system; when you assume this position, your chest is stretched open and your bronchial tubes are widened to promote easier breathing. In time, your rib cage will expand, and this will also encourage you to breathe more deeply. It is good for asthma and bronchitis.

• The name of the posture derives from the fact that – if you adopt the position in water, you will float quite easily.

• This is helpful for swimmers who can then hold their breath under water for longer periods.

• Pressure on the neck also works on the thyroid gland and the parathyroid gland (which regulates the level of calcium in the body). Metabolism balances and immune system is boosted.

• Most of abdominal and stomach problems are also corrected as your intestines and abdominal muscles are stretched and toned. It is good in constipation and for bleeding piles.

• The pressure on your neck stimulates the energy centre that regulates the voice – thus improving voice quality.

• It tones the nervous system, the pelvic organs, and the nerves connected with sexual functions. It also helps prevent and remove disorders of the reproductive system.

Om Shanti



New Hatha Yoga class with Vishnu Ananda

Come and experience class with Vishnu Ananda, starting on October 30th at 7pm. This class will be in English only. To learn about Vishnu, please go to Registration is not needed.

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