All you need to know about Mermaid Side Stretch Pose

This restorative pose is a great lateral flexion
Representative Image
Representative Image

This is a beginner-level seated lateral stretching pose. It is included in Restorative Yoga and Pilates because it is a mild yet effective oblique stretch. It is called Mermaid Pose as the lower body/legs are folded in a position that resembles a mermaid. This restorative pose is a great lateral flexion.

STEPS

  • Start in Dandasana (Star Pose) and stabilise your breath.
  • Inhale and fold both legs from the knees on the left side (like a mermaid), keeping the knees and shins stacked but keeping them separated enough so that the hips and shoulders are squared.  
  • Inhale and lift your arms in a ‘T’ (horizontal) position. Lift your chest upward and engage your core by breathing slowly and deeply.
  • Exhale and bend on your right side, extending the right arm behind the ear and place the other hand on your knees.
  • Keep your pelvis grounded and try not to lift your hips up.
  • Stay in this position for a minute. Then, inhale, get back in the ‘T’ position, and repeat it on the other side.
  • Finally, inhale, release the pose, and come back to Dandasana and relax in Dandasana Hands Back.

BENEFITS

  • It works mainly on the upper body.
  • Stretches the internal and external oblique muscles.
  • Extends back muscles called the Latissimus Dorsi and Erector Spinae.
  • Increases flexibility in the lower back and sides (obliques) of the body.
  • Can be included in prenatal and postnatal yoga.
  • Prepares for intermediate poses like Wild Thing Pose, knee-to-floor version.
  • It is a mild chest and heart opener.
  • Balances the pose and avoids leaning forward.
  • Decompresses the spine and muscles around the pelvis region.
  • Makes the body relaxed and energised, thereby releasing stiffness.
  • Suspends blood flow in the lower part of the body and thereby increases blood circulation in the upper body.
  • Stimulates the digestive and respiratory systems.
  • Reduces stiffness and releases tension in the obliques, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae.
  • Therapeutic for people with acute lower back pain.

LIMITATIONS: People can avoid this in cases of injury or recent surgery in the knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, and neck. Coordination between breath and movement is required to achieve the pose correct

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