Tap into your inner grace with mermaid pose, eka pada rajakapotasana. This insta-worthy pose will definitely challenge your flexibility, but it’s a fun challenge to add your asana list! Mermaid pose is technically a variation of king pigeon pose, with some small differences, which we’ll go over below.
Strengthens core, shoulders, and pelvic floor. Creates space in the spine and hip flexors. Assists with digestion, balance, and general flexibility.
Before attempting mermaid pose, make sure that you have warmed up through spine, hips, and shoulders. Taking a few vinyasa flows is a good way to warm up the body and prepare for this more advanced pose.
- Start in downward facing dog, adho mukha svanasana.
- Extend your right leg out behind you into a 3-legged position.
- Bring that right knee in towards your chest and then settle that knee in between your hands, like you would for pigeon pose. Keep your heel closer to your pelvis if you are less flexible, or extend that heel up higher bringing your shin parallel to the front of your mat if you are more open in your hips.
- Keep your left leg long behind you, making sure the knee is pressing down into the mat.
- Feel free to stop here at pigeon, if you wish. You can always use a block under your hips to make this a little more of a gentle hip opener. Alternatively, you can bend that left leg behind you to bring your hips up a little higher to modify the pose.
- If you are continuing into mermaid, bend your left knee behind you and reach for your left foot with your left hand.
- Adjust (wiggle!) until you can get that left foot into the crook of your left elbow. This may take some maneuvering, but don’t be discouraged.
- Extend your right arm upwards and interlace your right fingers with your left.
- Breathe. You got this!
King Pigeon Version: Instead of placing your left foot inside the crook of your left elbow, you’ll extend both arms overhead and reach back for that left foot, keeping a bend in your elbows. This is a lot more difficult variation but it’s a beautiful challenge to add to your list!
Start in pigeon pose until you are uncomfortable adding the mermaid (or king pigeon) flourish! The shoulder flexibility required of this pose can also be a lot, so practice shoulder openers using a towel or band to create that space.