Pose for a broken nose

I’m back from my blog break. I hesitate to say that I’m better than ever, though…I had an unfortunate encounter with the lid of our garbage bin on a windy day, and have a broken nose. It’s not bad – no big bumps or black eyes – but damn, does it hurt and it’s caused an afternoon headache almost every day. But, there’s not much to do except wait for it to heal, and be careful with practicing inversions. I did discover that matsyasana, fish pose, actually provides some relief from the feeling of pressure I’ve experienced. I have no idea what the physiology behind that is, but regardless I’ll take it. So here is a one-pose wonder, a pose for a broken nose. It also opens the abdomen, chest, and throat, and relieves tension in the upper back and neck, for you people without broken noses. It is traditionally the counter pose for sarvangasana, shoulder stand. And in case you’re wondering, it’s called fish because it fills the lungs with air, improving floating ability. (Even though fish don’t float…but who am I to question the ancients?) I love the feeling of stretching the throat, and the way it gives you that upside-down perspective without having to invert anything below the neck.

The How-to:

  • Lie on your back and place your hands under your bum. When you do this, keep the arms alongside the body; don’t let the elbows flare out.
  • Push down through your elbows to lift up your chest and chin. Drop the crown of the head back to the floor; don’t take a lot of weight into the head, most of the weight bearing should be in your forearms.
  • Pay attention to the position of the shoulders; don’t allow them to be hunched. Point or flex the feet to keep the legs active.
  • Stay here for 5-10 breaths.
  • To come out of fish, push down through your elbows as you lift your head, tucking the chin towards your chest and looking to your feet. Then allow the head to gently release to the floor.

Go fish! Namaste.
Images by Larry Stanley