Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – The Mermaid Pose

The mermaid pose is named after mermaids; they are mystical creatures, the princesses of seas and oceans. Together with their male counterparts, the mermen, they form the merfolk—an underwater kingdom. According to myths, the first mermaid to ever live was the Assyrian Goddess Atargatis. Atargatis accidentally killed a mortal man she loved. To punish herself, she decided to throw herself into the waves. Her motive was to take on the form of a fish. However, the oceans haven’t accepted her sacrifice and denied her to conceal her beauty. Thus, her upper body and head stayed the same, and only her legs became a tail.

How Safely Perform Mermaid Pose

The mermaid pose is an advanced posture, and you should only practice it after a thorough warm-up. It is a deep hip opener, chest opener, and a back-bending asana – thus, many demanding movements are taking place all at once. If you experience discomfort while getting into the posture, consider using props or safely exit the pose. There are numerous ways how to enter Mermaid Pose. We are going to start from a Downward Facing Dog pose. First, find comfort in your DFD and take your right leg upwards. By this movement, we not only stretch the hamstrings but also allow the hip to open wider. Then, from a three-legged dog, shift your body slightly forward and take your gaze in between your hands. 

Chest and Heart Opening

Bend your right knee and start pulling it towards the chest and the right arm. Place your right ankle behind your left wrist. Start taking your right shin towards the floor and placing your right knee behind the right wrist. Simultaneously begin to lower your left leg towards your mat. Flex your right foot to prevent knee injury. Bend your left knee, maintaining the thigh on the mat. Point towards the sky with your left foot. Twist towards your left side slightly and hook your left foot to the left elbow. Take your right hand up, bend it in the elbow and connect your hands behind your head. 

Voilà, if you have a mirror around, you could notice that the shape your arms form closely resembles a mermaid tail. Now, take your gaze forward and center your shoulders as much as possible, maintaining your hips at a leveled height. You can always use a folded blanket or a block underneath your left hip or a strap to connect your hands. Remain in this posture for 3- 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Some Useful Cues

  • Maintain a strong core.
  • Pull knees towards each other; you will allow your pelvis to lift without lifting your hips.
  • Relax your shoulders and pull them away from your ears.
  • Do not compress your back, even though it is a backbend; keep elongating your spine, keeping the backbend balanced.
  • Feel as graceful and elegant as a mermaid.

Benefist of the Mermaid Pose:

  • Stimulation of internal abdominal organs.
  • Digestion is supported, and kidneys with the liver are massaged. 
  • You stretch your pelvic muscles, and that positively affects the reproductive system.
  • Chest muscles are stretched, which creates space for the lungs and heart
  • The neck is stretched, leading to the balancing of thyroid glands
  • Lower back tension might get reduced due to Mermaid Pose being a back-bending asana.

Note: Mermaid pose is an advanced yoga posture, and therefore great focus should be on its safe execution. If you have a knee, shoulder, or hip injury, you might consider not performing this posture to its full potential. You can use a pillow or a blanket to support them with tighter hips. If your shoulder is a bit tighter, you can use a strap.

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