Use this divine restorative pose to recover from your Summer holidays! That might sound like strange thing to say. I love all the adventuring, camping, hiking, sailing and frisbee on the beach we do with the kids throughout this season and feel deeply grateful for this family time; it’s a lot of fun. However I think, as many other mothers may experience during school holidays, it can all be rather relentless and impossible to find big chunks of time to practice. I actually find that I get less time to myself at this time of year.
This is a posture that my dear friend Lynda Miers-Henneveld from Freed-Om Yoga taught me some years ago. I’ve slightly adapted it and through practice and sharing this uplifting Restorative Yoga pose it has evolved into ‘The Mermaid on the Rocks’! It feels luxuriously divine to lie, heart open, across bolsters and wrap a blanket around the legs to make a fishy tail!
Essentially it is a supported backbend and it’s the wrapping of the legs that allows a lovely balance of opening in the upper body whilst maintaining stability through the lower body. In other words, it is energising and yet grounding at the same time (in my experience).
As you can see from the sideview I use two bolsters; one under the thoracic spine, and one stacked with a folded blanket to support the head. If you only have one bolster use it under the thoracic but just use a pile of blankets under the head (they should pile up slightly higher than the chest support). Also note that there is a small gap between the two bolsters to allow the shoulders to sink down towards the ground. The arms are then supported by wing like blankets out to the side, supporting the arms so that the shoulder feels totally comfortable. Unlike Yin yoga, Restorative yoga isn’t creating a stretch, it’s aim is to support every joint complex in the body and to relax the muscles around it. So keep feeling for comfort and ease and take your time to get it just right.
The blanket that creates the mermaid tail shouldn’t be too thick as it needs to be tucked around and under the buttocks, thighs and calves. It will feel just right when you feel that you can relax the legs away from one another and yet feel that they are supported and contained.
Some kind of an eye cover is deeply calming. Lastly if you have extra eyebags, place them in your hands for a reassuring weight.
You can be a merperson for 10-20 minutes. If any discomfort or pain arises, roll onto your side and come out gently. Sit quietly for a while and listen to your body, does it need another posture to counter pose or are you now feeling complete?
I would usually practice this after a bit of a spinal warm up or towards the end of a fuller practice. So grab your props and expand into this fishy pose.
Namaste Divine Mermaids and Mermen!