Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Everyone is always interested in the pose I display in my twitter picture, and the one in my profile picture on this blog. It’s called mermaid or in Sanskrit, “Eka Pada Rajakapotasana” which is really just One legged king pigeon pose variation. However, I prefer the name “Mermaid” This stems from my immense LOVE for water…and one of my favorite movies, “The Little Mermaid”
I remember watching one of my friends, Amanda do this very pose during a practice we use to go to together every Wednesday. It was during our teacher training and I remember watching her grace, flexibility and strength as she moved deeper into this posture. It was beautiful to watch and I TOLD myself, I WILL do this pose one day.
This isn’t a posture where you can just get down on the floor and maneuver into it. Although you may be flexible, you would be missing the entirety of the posture and poses designed to lead up to its vastness.
A Yoga pose is like life…You need to enjoy the journey and everything leading up to it. If you only focus on one goal/end result you may miss out on some amazing experiences.
Mermaid is definitely designed to be a hip opener, lengthen the spine and completely open the heart. I tend to do a lot of posture designed to open these 3 concepts as these are usually where people hold stress and fear.
Starting your practice with Surya Namaskar A and B. As your body warms up, start to cultivate strength through the upper and lower extremities as you move through each of the Sun Salutations. Encourage your mind to let go of unnecessary thoughts and soften into the experience and flow.
As per my previous post below about being flexible and its benefits. THIS is a posture where flexibility and HUGE range of motion is definitely required. I don’t advise anyone to try this without the right supervision and guidance by a certified yoga instructor. Above all, you know your body better than anyone, but I do advise you to really tune into yourself and when only you’re ready to move deeper.
There are a few reasons that this posture is my favorite. It was a goal I desired and achieved. It allows me acknowledge and take complete control my fears of back bending and heart opening, and ultimately feels SO good. I always smile during this pose… Really though, if you know me, I’m smiling all the time ;)
The beginning of this posture deals with Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or more simply, pigeon pose. One of my many favorite poses which opens the groin, hips and psoas. It gives a great stretch to the iliotibial (IT) band. This is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh. The gluteal muscles attach to the top while the lower part attaches to the tibia, just below the knee. It functions primarily as a stabilizer. This can become very sore when over used and the pain can be felt along the outside of the knee and through the outer hip. Starting in an upright position and letting the hips relax and open, moving closer to the ground. When ready, using your breath to allow you to take your chest to the ground, moving deeper into the pose if your body permits. Take a few minutes and relax, taking in the amazing stretch. Keeping the toes curled under, and squaring your hips with the front of the room will ensure a proper expanse.
When you’re prepared to move deeper, bending the straight leg behind you into the body bringing the heel closer to your torso. Reaching back to help bring the bended leg closer feeling the stretch through the front of the thigh stretching the Rectus Femoris. With every breath, relax and bring the leg closer.
Please keep in mind the steps to move into the pose and that they may not all happen in one day. Making sure you appreciate each step along the way and acknowledge how far you’ve come from day one.
The last part is wrapping your arm around the foot so the top of your foot sits nicely on the eyes on the elbows. Taking the opposite arm behind the head then linking the fingers together. This will open the shoulders, chest and the heart so you may shine bright.
Enjoy each of the steps toward this pose and when reached, the end result and all its magnitude…don’t forget to smile!
Happy Stretching! :)