Mermaid Pose first hit the asana scene as an advanced variation of Pigeon Pose, and the precursor to the full One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, opening the hips, shoulders and chest, stretching the thigh muscles strengthening the core and pelvic floor, and teaching balance and stability.
However, the pose stands alone as a vibrant, heart-opening backbend, exhibiting the strength, fluidity and grace of a mermaid–and if you haven’t noticed on social media, mermaids (and mermen!) are all of the rage right now.
Join the mermaid tribe of yogis this summer with these five variations of Mermaid Pose (and don’t forget to hashtag: #mermaidtribe).
1. Original Mermaid Pose
The first place to become comfortable in Mermaid Pose is in Pigeon Pose.
Leaving your front hand on a block outside your front hip, bend your back knee and grab ahold of your back foot for a thigh stretch. Practice hugging your legs toward one another here, lifting your pelvic floor in and up, and extending your spine. Play with lifting the bottom hand up off the block and finding your balance.
The next step is to slide the foot inside the crease of your elbow, pointing your fingers straight up, and to take your free arm behind the base of your skull — clasping all eight fingers if it’s available.
2. Mermaid in Low Lunge
Once you’ve figured out how to slide your back foot into the crook of your elbow and clasp your hands, it’s time to start playing around with finding your Mermaid Pose in other variations.
Rather than beginning in Pigeon Pose, begin in a low lunge with your back knee down and follow the same steps above. Press down into your front heel and extend up through the spine as you curl your chest forward and up.
3. Mermaid in Camel Pose
Finding Mermaid in Camel Pose is a little more challenging, but super fun to try. First practice lifting one foot and bringing it alongside your outer hip for a thigh stretch.
Then play with sliding your foot into the crease of your elbow and clasping your finger for Mermaid Pose. Actively hug your knees in to keep your spine lifted and turn your heart and face up to the sky.
4. Standing Mermaid Pose
Technically a variation of Standing Dancer Pose, standing Mermaid Pose has become a favorite among Instagram yogis and is a fun one to pop into anywhere.
Standing on your right leg, kick your left foot into your left hand and extend your right arm up toward the sky. Inhale, extend up out of your pelvis and begin to hinge forward slight, as you do slide the back foot into the crease of your elbow. Actively press down into the inner edge of your standing foot and lift your forward and up.
Once you’ve got your balance, take your right arm behind your head and clasp your fingers. Continue to curl your chest forward and up as you kick the lifted foot back into your elbow crease and press the base of your skull back into your top arm.
5. Mermaid in Monkey Pose
If you’re comfortable and stable in the front splits (meaning you have equal parts stability and flexibility and can balance), play with lifting the back leg, extending the spine and adding a little heart opening this super advanced variation of Mermaid Pose.
Play around with Mermaid Pose and let us know which variations you like best!
Image Credit: Nir Livni Photography / Yogini: Meagan McCrary