One of the most beautiful, feminine poses in yoga is called mermaid pose. It is a deep back and hip opening pose that can be very challenging but the end result turns you into a beautiful mermaid. So lets break it down with some body building stretches so that you can become a beautiful mermaid.
A lot of people assume that mermaid pose is mostly in your back but It actually has more to do with your hip flexors and psoas muscles. If you have tight hip flexors then you will have a tight back and this pose will seem almost impossible, but everything can be modified and how deep you go into the pose is up to you. Take your time and be patient with yourself.
Here are some great stretches to start doing to get you ready for your final mermaid pose.
Deep Lunge– Make sure your front knee is directly over your ankle and with your back knee on the ground, bring your weight to the front foot to get a deep hip flexor stretch. This should be practiced daily for a minimum of 30 seconds to reach your goal. Play with arm placement. Starting with arms on the ground,you can bring hands to your hips and finally arms over your head, which will also help create length in your spine. Be sure to draw your tailbone down while you reach your arms up.
Continue in a deep lunge with your weight on the front heel, bend your back leg to get a deep quad stretch in your back leg. Keep both hips squared to the front of the room and slowly bring your heel to your bum. Repeat on the other leg to get an even stretch.
Quad Stretch– Sitting up with both legs straight out in front of you, lean to the left and bend your right leg so that your right heel is on the outside of your right bum. Internally rotate both legs in and flex your left foot so that the leg is straight and toes are up. Sit up tall and feel the deep stretch in your right leg. If this is easy then slowly come back onto your elbows, continuing to draw your tailbone down. If you need a deeper stretch then lay all the way down, flat on your back ,arms overhead.
Single Pigeon- this is the beginning prep for mermaid except your back leg is straight and your front leg is bent but the further your heel is away from your body,the deeper the stretch. If you are finding it hard to have your right hip on the ground then prop yourself up onto a blanket. Hands on either side of your front leg, lengthen your spine from your pubis to the crown of your head. Then stretch forward so that eventually your body is flat to the ground. Use a block to rest your head on or a pillow until you reach the final stretch.
Downward facing dog on your fore arms– Come up onto your fore arms and reach your hips up to the sky. Legs hip width apart, straight and parallel. Draw your outer arms into your ears and bring your shoulder blades onto your back. Press into your heels and feel the deep stretch in your upper arms. Keep your arms as is and come down onto your knees into child’s pose. Keep your elbows where they are and bring your hands to your back. Walk your elbows away from your body and release your chest to the ground.
How to do Mermaid Pose
Start in single pigeon. If your front legs bottom doesn’t touch the ground then bend your front leg in more. If you are still not able to get your bottom down then use a prop, like a blanket or bolster to place under your seat so that you can balance. Once you feel comfortable you can remove prop and use the resistance on your legs to hold you up.
Bend your back leg and reach the same arm back to meet it. Place your foot in the hook of your elbow then bring your front arm to meet your back hand, to make a perfect frame for your pose. Draw your tailbone down and lift out of your belly to the crown of your head. Continue the work in your legs, as if you are scissoring your inner thighs together.
If you are comfortable here then you can continue going into deeper variations of this pose. Eventually bringing both arms up and back to touch your foot to your head. Hips and shoulders are squared to the front and elbows are straight up inline with shoulders.
You will favor one side but it is always wise to do both sides.
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