Matsyasana – Fish Pose
Lying on your back with your arms on the ground at your sides, slide your hands — palms down — under your rear end. As you slide them, start to press the whole lower arms into the ground while bending your elbows. The effect is to lift your upper body gently upward and open your chest.You can hold your head up, if your throat and neck are uncomfortable, or gently let your head fall backward toward the ground. Take five to ten deep breaths and then carefully remove your hands from under you. Lie flat and enjoy the open sensation in your chest.
Kapotasana – Pigeon Pose
This is a more advanced pose that you can save for when you’ve practiced the others a few times. Most people need a blanket, pillow, or book to prop under their seat during this pose so prepare yourself first. Now, seated cross-legged, place your palms on the ground in front of you and shift your weight forward off your rear end. Slide your left leg backward until it’s stretched out, as pictured. The back of your left foot should be pressing against the ground.
Open your chest forward, relax your shoulders, and be sure that you place a thickly-rolled blanket or pillow under the right side of your rear end so you can fully let go. It’s both an intense stretch and a super-relaxing position.
Now carefully walk forward with your hands until your upper body is stretched over your bent right leg. Try to keep your back as straight as possible: it’s more important to keep length in your back than to bend all the way forward to the ground. Continue breathing and letting go in your head and shoulders, while allowing the stretch to extend in your hips and groin.
At the beginning you shouldn’t stay longer than one minute in the Pigeon Pose, but later you might enjoy it for up to ten minutes. And then repeat the pose on the other side!