Lex Gemini guides us through Mermaid Pose (Eka Pada Rajakaposana), a hip opening pose.
Benefits of Mermaid Pose
We benefit greatly from openness. At the hips. The chest. Rotation of the shoulders. And don’t forget the attitude we’ll develop as we embrace the journey of getting in touch with ourselves. Key parts of the body used here are the spine, pectorals, abdominals, deltoids, triceps, peronius muscle group, piriformis, the entire Iliopsoas muscle group and the glutes. Openness and flexibility in these areas will not only increase our strides, circulation and oxygenation, and range of movement and awareness of extension, but also our ability to feel free. Once we’ve freed ourselves from every twinge (through a consistent yoga practice), every muscular and mental limit – the benefits, so to speak – are without bounds. So get moving!
- Shoulders are too tight, or not relaxed. Learn to let go into the process.
- Hips and knees are inflexible, causing the body to apply unnecessary pressure to the front knee. Appreciate limits, take your time, even in warming up.
- Spinal irregularities like rigidity/inflexibility bring challenges from the onset, so begin with basic movements.
- Holding the muscles too tightly at peak of ability in position. Learn to let go here, observe the breath and be patient; openness comes.
- Applying more pressure and/or a ‘no pain, no gain’ mindset, ego-driven practice, aggravating weakness/pain. Don’t rush any poses, even if there is a deep urge to force it.
- Not enough mobility in the back to hollow the spine and convex the chest. Practice progressive movements.
- Relax into the process of warming the arms, let the shoulders go; deep rotations require patience. Arm extensions, as well as deep reverse stretches, like Prasarita Padotanasana C (wide leg forward fold), which open our hips and lengthen the hamstrings (tighter hips will loosen with time).
- Any reverse bind, and a slow rhythmic rotation like figure-eight, involving shoulders, neck and spine (don’t take chances leaving the spine too rigid) while in Prasarita Padotanasana (wide leg forward bend); evolve into skandasana (side lunge) (which will assist with mobility in the hips, knees, ankles and shoulders simultaneously).
- Starting with a manageable stride and feet well-aligned, reverse bind will incorporate a good amount of balance, openness and focus. Utilising the Ujjai breathing technique to keep our internal system hot aids muscular elasticity. Incorporate the king pigeon pose slowly, along with the above, sets us right up for mermaid pose.
As we evolve beyond our limits and persevere deeper, we might experience a self-realisation, which all began with the single intention: openness. Remember: it’s the journey, not the destination!
Lex Gemini practices and teaches hatha and vinyasa yoga in the Lake District, at Purusha Yoga and The Netherwood Spa. Find him at purushayoga.guru Photo by Julie Pennington Wright Photography.
Find more Man on the Mat poses here.