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The common mistakes series is one of my favorites but I never know what pose to break down, so I was psyched when the other day I received multiple requests on instagram for mermaid pose. I did the breakdown for mermaid pose last year but never a side by side of what to do vs what to avoid. This pose is one of my favorites but it can be tricky because it requires the body to be so open.
The biggest mistake I see people making is attempting to get into it when their hips aren't open enough. If your legs look like mine do on the right, then you're going to want to just work in pigeon pose and other hip opening sequences until the hips open up. I wouldn't recommend trying to bend that back leg because it puts extra strain on an already tight hip flexor, not to mention the fact that when the hips aren't open enough the body is required to sit on the knees a little differently which may lead to a knee injury due to the compression.
The other thing we want to focus on is the openness in the chest, armpit and shoulder area. Even though it may not look like it, mermaid is a major back-bending pose, so flexibility in the upper body is crucial to avoid injury. This neck and shoulders sequence also works the chest big time, so I would recommend practicing with this if you're feeling tight in the upper body. I also recommend practicing this chest video sequence to help open up.
And! Last but absolutely not least, there is always the question of the front knee. So many people ask if it has to be at 90 degrees, and the answer is no. Forcing the knee to be at 90 degrees and then sitting that way may put intense pressure on the knee and cause an injury. The most important thing regarding the legs is making sure those hips are open enough rather than worrying about the knee.
Give it a try and let me know where you're at!
Related 6 poses to open the hips
Let's talk What pose would you like to see broken down in the Common Mistakes series?