How to Get Into the Pose
To get into supported fish pose, start by setting up your props (folded blanket, foam roller or blocks as described below) and sit in front of your prop set-up. With bent knees, gently lower your upper back and head onto the props keeping your seat and hips on the ground. Adjust the props to eliminate any discomfort. With bent knees and feet on the floor, lift the hips and slightly draw the tailbone towards the feet to expand the flesh around the hips and lower back.
After placing your lower back and hips back onto the ground, move your arms and legs into a position that allows you to fully relax. Your legs may be extended or bent with feet on the floor and knees resting on one another. Your arms can be resting at your sides with palms facing up or placed resting on the ground near shoulder or head height for a deeper stretch.
Different Variations & Modifications
Depending on how your body feels on any given day, you may want to experiment with different props and body positions to help make the pose more accessible or to find a deeper stretch.
- A gentle variation of this pose uses a folded blanket placed horizontally underneath your shoulder blades. Your shoulders, arms and head are on the floor and the arms can be bent resting on the ground. Keep knees bent and feet on the floor or extend the legs if it is comfortable to do so.
- If you have yoga blocks, you can put one underneath your shoulder blades and one underneath the base of the skull. It is good idea to start with the blocks at the lowest height and adjust them as needed.
- If you have a foam roller and can balance on it, you can place it lengthwise underneath your spine supporting your ribs, upper back and head.
Benefits For Swimmers and All Athletes
Stretching (even for 5 minutes) after every workout can yield huge results for all athletes by restoring balance to the body and accelerating recovery. Breathing deeply and fully into the front of the chest will allow you to go deeper into relaxation, which will release a little more tension with each breath that you take.
Benefits of supported fish pose:
- Improves posture
- Opens and stretches the chest, shoulders, neck, back and abdominal muscles
- Reduces neck and shoulder tension
- Encourages deep and steady breathing
- Quiets the mind and calms the nervous system
The benefits are enhanced and expanded the longer you hold the pose.