Yoga pose category: Hip opener
NOTE: As with all exercise, always seek the advice of a doctor if you have health issues or concerns before starting a new workout or exercise.
The Mermaid pose requires open hips with a single Pigeon, but it doesn’t require the deepest variation of the pose.
Start in Downward-Facing Dog and step your right leg to the front of your mat. Next, bring your right heel in fully to your body and extend your rear leg straight out. For advanced yogis: for the deepest layer, have your shin completely parallel to the front of the mat.
Roll the outer edge of your left leg down towards the ground while simultaneously rotating your upper inner thigh towards the ceiling. Square your hips by rolling your left ribs forward. The left hip should naturally want to fall towards the mat. Extend straight arms out to your fingertips and work on lifting the top of your pelvis and heart. Gently roll your shoulder heads back.
Hold for 8 deep, full breaths.
Now look over your left shoulder and bend your left knee, drawing your foot in. Reach back and try to grab your foot with your left hand. For beginners, if you can’t reach your foot, it’s OK, just stay here and breath.
If you feel you can continue, begin a slow bend in your left elbow to draw the foot in closer towards your body. Continue to roll your left hip down towards the mat and steady yourself by keeping your right fingertips on the ground in-front of your body. Feel out carefully how far you bring the foot in and go slowly, which is critically important to the psoas muscle releasing so you can go into a full backbend.
With your left elbow bent, slide your left foot down the inside of your forearm until it lands in the crook of your elbow. Lightly curl your toes so they hold like fingers onto your leg. Engage your core by lifting up through your belly and chest. Without moving forward, lift your right hand up, then reach the right hand back to clasp the left hand.
With your hands clasped, drop your chin and gaze down. Lift your arms, still clasped up above your head, then lightly let them slide behind your skull so that the right elbow points straight up. Once your arm is behind you, take your gaze forward and make any new adjustments to square your hips and chest to the front of your mat.
Pull your heart up as you root down through your hips and keep your right shoulder relaxed in the socket.
Take 8 deep, full breaths, then release your clasp and come back into your single Pigeon and fold to release your back.
After taking both sides, finish with a vinyasa.