Mountain Brook Pose (Salamba Matsyasana)
This restorative pose uses several props to make it more make accessible for students who may not have the needed strength or flexibility to do the chest openers or back bends without props.
Mountain Brook Pose is a great pose to practice as we transition from winter to spring because it counteracts the slumped posture and tight chest that comes from sitting, modern-day activities and the tension we hold when we feel cold.
Benefits of Mountain Brook Pose
- Supports the back of the neck to allow the throat to soften.
- Opens the upper back to break down the walls created around the heart.
- This pose targets three sneaky areas that we usually protect and where tension/stress like to live: throat, heart, gut.
- Is known to reduce fatigue.
- Helps lift your mood when you're feeling down.
In Mountain Brook Pose you can think of your body as the water and the props as smooth pebbles or rocks. Your body is gently draped over the props in a wavy pattern, like water flowing over stones in a mountain brook.
How to do Mountain Brook Pose
Recommended Yoga Props: a bolster, one or two blankets folded in thirds longways and one rectangular three-fold blanket.
Sit between the middle blanket(s) and bolster. Put your legs over the bolster to supports your knees in a bent position and rest the heels on the ground wider than hip distance apart. This helps to relax the area around the pelvis.
Then lie back on the long blanket(s) so that the middle line of the blanket will be around the bottom of you shoulder blades. Your low back should be resting on the ground. The goal is to let the shoulder blades melt toward the floor.
Rest your head on the rectangular fold blanket. Make a small roll that fully supports the curve of the neck without increasing it. Your arms slot neatly into the space between the two blankets.
This set up should not be uncomfortable. If your low back feels over arched, you can remove one of the blankets supporting your shoulder blades or adjust the height of any of your supports. The goal is to feel your heart lifting while your shoulders & low back relax.
Make any adjustments to the props that you feel are necessary to be as relaxed as possible. You can lower or raise the height of the blankets, move the bolster towards your heels or hips, or cushion your neck differently. Once you feel fully supported and completely comfortable, relax into the props and stay present with your breath.
Want to add more props to your Mountain Brook Pose?
- This restorative pose can be enhanced by adding an Eye Pillow over your eyes.
- Deepen relaxation by adding Hand Weights on your hands.
- Bring more awareness to your breath by adding an Eye Pillow or Sandbags to your low belly.
- Cover yourself with another blanket for extra warmth and coziness.
Enter into a state of non-doing while resting in Mountain Brook pose for 5 - 20 minutes. When you are ready to come out of the pose, remove any blankets or props on your, roll to the side and slowly rise to a seated posture.
“I will let my body flow like water over the gentle cushions.” - Sappho