Mermaid is an advanced variation of Pigeon Pose, and when we say Pigeon Pose, we’re not referring to Kapotasana Pose. It’s also an advanced prep posture for One Legged King Pigeon. As a variation of another posture, there’s no true Sanskrit name for the pose, but we have provided Sanskrit translation for its close cousin, One Legged King Pigeon.
The Sanskrit name or translation is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. The breakdown for the Sanskrit name is as follows, “Eka” meaning “One”, “Pada” meaning “Foot or Leg”, “Raja” meaning “King”, “Kapota” meaning “Pigeon”, and “Asana” meaning “Posture or Pose”. It’s worth mentioning that Kapotasana Pose is an entirely different pose than Rajakapotasana.
If you’re ready to add Mermaid Pose to your practice, get ready for a posture that will test your hip flexibility, spine flexibility, focus and balance. However, there are plenty of benefits and pleasures along the way.
Benefits Of The Pose:
As you might guess, this posture is full of benefits. The pose incorporates numerous parts of the body and therefore offers robust advantages.
Mermaid will help to open and free your front torso or chest area, it provides a nice stretch for the shoulders, and a challenging stretch for the hips. The pose also strengthens the core, provides a backbend, and will test your balance. A stretch is also provided for the thighs and groins.
As a yoga hip opener, this pose can improve your range of motion, release tension and help reduce and improve back pain in many cases. Having more hip flexibility can also make it much easier to perform simple tasks, like picking something up off the floor.
As a yoga backbend, the posture can help improve your spine flexibility, stretch the chest, and improve your posture. Remember, a flexible spine is a healthy spine!
As a heart opener, this pose will help to expand the chest and improve blood circulation. Heart openers are also well known for their ability to release tension and have a dramatic effect on improving your posture.
Naturally, once you’re able to tie together all the aspects of this pose and achieve your best Mermaid, you will be blessed with the satisfaction of reaching your goal.
Opens The Hips
Stretches The Chest
Opens The Shoulders
Helps Spine Flexibility
Prep & Follow Up Poses:
As with many poses, it’s important that you prep yourself for Mermaid. The numerous postures that can help warm you up for Mermaid include Downward Facing Dog Pose, Camel Pose, Lizard Pose, Child’s Pose, and Low Lunge.
Modifications & Cautions:
If the hip of your front leg doesn’t reach the floor, you can place a blanket underneath it for support and to raise the floor. This will also help with balance.
If your hips are too tight, you may not be able to get your shin parallel to the front edge of your mat. If this is the case, allow your front foot and shin to angle back toward your opposite hip and torso.
If you can’t reach your back foot with your hands or you can’t clasp your hands, you can use a strap to extend your reach without straining.
Avoid this pose of you have a recent or chronic injury to your back, knees, shoulders or hips. Always allow injuries to fully heal.
Low or high blood pressure qualifies as a good reason to avoid Mermaid.
Keep in mind that this pose requires space and flexibility in the hips, back, and psoas. Try to take each step of the pose slowly and allow your body to get ready for the next step of the progression.
Don’t be overly concerned about getting your front shin parallel to the mat, be patient. The further forward you take the shin, the deeper the stretch.
Remember to keep the legs active in the pose, this can help protect the back.
Keep your front foot flexed to help protect the knee from injury.
Pay close attention to alignment, this is an advanced yoga pose and will require time and dedication to master.
If you feel any pain or pinch in the back, neck, knees or hips, back out of the pose and don’t move deeper into the posture.
Remember to breathe!
You can begin the process of Mermaid Pose by starting in Pigeon Pose (Not Kapotasana).
Start with your right leg as your front leg, try to align your right heel with your left hip, don’t worry about getting the shin parallel to the mat yet.
Place your hands on each side of your hips with the fingertips on the earth, find balance and allow your weight to distribute evenly.
Square the hips, torso and shoulders to the front of your mat and breathe. Lengthen the spine.
At this point, you can try to parallel the right shin to the mat’s edge, don’t force the shin forward, find your limit and stop. The more forward the shin, the deeper the stretch.
Remember to flex the right foot to protect the knee. Press the outside edge of the foot into the mat.
Breathe here and decide if you can move deeper into the pose and work toward full Mermaid.
If comfortable, slowly begin to bend your left knee and raise your left foot up and toward your torso and back.
If ready, reach back with your left hand to grab your left foot.
If you can proceed, take a breath and begin to move your left foot up the arm and place it into the crook of your elbow.
Raise your right arm upward, bend your arm and reach behind your head to clasp your right hand with your left hand. If this isn’t possible, use a strap between the hands.
Gaze upward and find balance by keeping the legs active and gently pressing your left foot into the elbow.
Stay in the pose for a few breaths and then on exhale release the hands and slowly disengage the pose.