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Mermaid Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)


The Mermaid Pose is an advanced yoga pose that is a variation of the King Pigeon Pose that involves deep backbending along with a hip-opening stretch.

Sanskrit Name and Pronunciation of Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

The Sanskrit name of the Mermaid Yoga Pose is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Aeik-Paah-Duh-Rah-Jah Kapoh-Dasanah). Eka” means “One”, “Pada” means “Foot or Leg”, “Raja” means “King”, “Kapota” means “Pigeon”, and “Asana” means “Posture or Pose”.


Is the Mermaid Pose Difficult?

The mermaid pose is an advanced variation of the pigeon pose, and is considered a bit difficult as it requires the hips to be open and warmed up to gain the flexibility needed for correctly executing the yoga pose.

What Body Parts Are Affected?

The Mermaid Pose benefits the following body parts:

– Lower Back
– Middle Back
– Feet and Ankles
– Hamstrings
– Chest
– Hips
– Pelvic
– Psoas
– Quadriceps

What to Do Before the Mermaid Yoga Asana

Before you try the mermaid pose, spend a little time in quiet meditation, along with basic body stretches as part of your warmup routine. 

Benefits of Practicing Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

– Stronger pelvic floor and core
– Freedom from backache and sciatica
– More flexible and stronger lower back, quad muscles and hip flexors
– Better balance
– Stronger and more open shoulders and chest
– Better control over your sexual desires
– Stronger and more potent digestive and reproductive system

Step-By-Step Sequencing Guide: How to Do Mermaid Pose


Step 1

Begin this yoga by doing the Dandasana, or staff pose. Start by bending one knee, all the while keeping the knee on the floor to allow the foot to be right in front of the groin. Now, take the other leg straight back.

Place your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Your wrists should be parallel to your mat. Spread your fingers wide and turn your toes under.


Step 2

Bend your knees by reaching your right leg high. 


Step 3

Roll your right shin forward toward the mat. Make it as parallel to the front of the mat as possible. Then, lower your hips to the ground like one-leg pigeon pose.

Take care that:
1) There is no compression in your back
2)Your right knee does not have to be 90 degrees – it can be a bit bent.



Step 4

Keep yourself balanced by putting weight on your right hand and take your left hand straight back parallel to your left leg. Bend your back left leg from the knee and put it on your left elbow. Keep your toes reaching up.



Step 5

Now take your right hand upward straight and bend it at the elbow behind your head and try to find your left hand’s fingers. Turn your head to the position your right knee is facing. Hold it for 4-5 seconds.

Release your hand and relax your left foot. Fold your upper body a little to the ground and allow your head to touch the ground. Relax your body for 2-3 seconds. 

What to Keep in Mind Before Doing Eka Pada Rajakapotasana: Caution and Common Mistakes

The biggest mistake people make is attempting to get into the mermaid posture when their hips aren’t open enough. If your legs aren’t warmed up, then the best idea is to do the pigeon pose and other hip-opening yoga sequences until the hips open up. It is not recommended trying and bending the back leg because it puts extra strain on an already-tight hip flexor. If the hips aren’t open or warmed up enough, the body is required to sit on the knees a little differently, which may lead to a knee injury due to the highly-strained compression.