Matsyasana (Fish Pose) is one of the best back extensor-strengthening poses in Yoga. Performed here with precision and site-specificity, the idea is to actively engage the back extensors (Erector Spinae) as they recruit upon each other from the Coccyx (Tail Bone) all the way up the back to the base of the skull. Beginning the movement with the feet by "rolling on the heels" to plantar-flex the ankles, which induces the beginning of an anterior tilt of the pelvis, sets the stage for active muscle contraction against the force of gravity all the way up the spine.
This pose is demonstrated on a 3" X 36" firm density foam roller by a woman who has been diagnosed with both osteoporosis and scoliosis as well as 3 serious bone fractures from accidents. She is "over 65" years old.
The 3" diameter roller adds site-specificity to the posture by placing pressure more directly on the spinous processes thus lengthening the entire "Front of The Backbone" and inducing a tensile (lengthening" force on (and probably within) the vertebral bodies. As you practice this posture, imagine your vertebral bodies as spotlights and shine those spotlights up towards the heavens.
Matsyasana (Fish Pose) can be performed on the floor or on a greater diameter foam roller. It can also be done on a pool noodle; however, the pool noodle does not have the firmness necessary for a more site-specific result. Using a 3" roller adds a dimension of specificity and challenge not available in other ways.
For questions on this, or other information posted on Yoga postures, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Charlotte Stone www.stoneyoga.com for her technical assistance and good humor in preparing this video.