Mermaid Pose: Step By Step Guide, Techniques and Tips

Mermaid Pose: Step By Step Guide, Techniques and Tips

Mermaid Pose, also known as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, is a beautiful yoga pose that combines hip opening, heart opening, and a backbend. It's an advanced pose that requires a good level of flexibility and strength, particularly in the hips and shoulders. This article will guide you through the proper form of the Mermaid Pose, offer some variations and poses to prepare for it and highlight common mistakes to avoid.

Benefits Of Mermaid Pose

Mermaid Pose offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Stretches the hips, quads, groin, and shoulders.
  • It opens the heart, creating space in the chest and upper back.
  • Develops flexibility in the hips, shoulders, and back.
  • Challenges balance and core strength.

Step-By-Step Instructions To Perform Mermaid Pose

  1. Start in Downward-Facing Dog and move your right foot between your hands, bringing your right heel close to your body and straightening your back leg.
  2. Square your hips and lower your left hip toward the Yoga mat. Come onto your fingertips, lifting your pelvis and chest, and roll your shoulders back. Hold this position for 8 breaths.
  3. Bend your left knee and reach back to grab your foot with your left hand. Keep your hips and torso facing forward. 
  4. Bend your left elbow, bringing your foot closer, and press your right fingertips into the ground. Slide your foot along your forearm until it's in the crook of your elbow.
  5. Press your toes and the top of your foot against your arm. Engage your core by lifting through your abs and chest and lift your left hand off the mat, clasping your hands together.
  6. Lift your clasped arms above your head and slide them behind your skull, keeping your right elbow pointing up and gazing forward. Square your hips and chest to the front of the mat, lifting your chest.
  7. Hold this position for 8 breaths, relaxing your right shoulder. To release, unclasp your hands and bring them to the mat.
  8. Return to Pigeon Pose, folding forward to straighten your back.

Alignment Tip

As you transition from Pigeon Pose prep to Mermaid Pose, engage your thighs strongly and draw them toward one another. This will help stabilize your pose and prevent you from rolling onto your hip.

Yoga Poses To Prepare Yourself For Mermaid Pose

Preparing for Mermaid Pose involves focusing on hip flexibility, quad flexibility, and shoulder opening. Here are some poses that can help you prepare:

  1. Low Lunge Variation with Gomukhasana Arms: This variation of Low Lunge helps open the hips and shoulders. 
  2. Low Lunge with Quad Stretch: Another variation of Low Lunge, this time focusing on stretching the quadriceps. 
  3. Extended Revolved Crescent Lunge: This pose helps open the hips and shoulders while strengthening the legs. 
  4. Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana): Pigeon Pose is a deep hip opener that prepares the hips for the intense stretch of Mermaid Pose. 
  5. Camel Pose (Ustrasana): Camel pose helps open the chest and shoulders, which are important for the arm position in Mermaid Pose. 

Common Mistakes To Avoid

  • Forcing the Backbend: Avoid forcing the backbend. Let the movement come naturally as you build flexibility over time.
  • Overarching the Back: Keep your spine long and avoid overarching your lower back, which can strain the back muscles.
  • Collapsing the Chest: Keep your chest lifted and open to fully benefit from the heart-opening aspect of the pose.

Modifications And Variations

  • Beginners: Stop after step two and focus on stretching the quad by pulling your foot toward your body.
  • Intermediate: Grasp your left ankle with your right hand and kick back into the left foot for a deeper stretch.
  • Advanced: Mermaid Pose can be used to prepare for One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana).

Mermaid Pose Modification With Yoga Props

Here are some modifications with yoga accessories to help you gradually work towards the full expression of Mermaid Pose:

Use A Yoga Bolster Or Blanket

If your hips or groin feel tight, place a folded blanket or yoga bolster under your hips for support. This will help you maintain stability and prevent discomfort as you work on opening your hips.

Use A Yoga Strap

If reaching your back foot is challenging, use a strap. Loop the yoga strap around your back foot and hold onto it with your hand. This will allow you to gradually increase your flexibility over time without straining.

Safety Precautions

  • Avoid Mermaid Pose if you have knee, ankle, hip, or shoulder injuries.
  • Do not push yourself into the pose if you feel pain or discomfort. Release the pose immediately if you experience any discomfort.


Mermaid Pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, is a challenging yet rewarding yoga pose that offers a deep stretch for the hips, quads, groin, and shoulders while opening the heart. Practicing this pose can help improve flexibility, balance, and strength. However, it's important to approach it mindfully and listen to your body, especially if you have any injuries or discomfort. With regular practice and patience, you can gradually work towards the full expression of Mermaid Pose and enjoy its many benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mermaid Pose Suitable For Beginners? 

Mermaid Pose is considered an advanced pose and may not be suitable for beginners. It requires a good level of flexibility, particularly in the hips and shoulders. It's important to start slowly and use modifications if needed.

How Long Does It Take To Master Mermaid Pose? 

The time it takes to master Mermaid Pose varies for each individual, depending on their flexibility, strength, and practice frequency. With regular practice and proper alignment, some may achieve it in a few weeks or months, while others may take longer.