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Learn Mermaid Side Stretch

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Updated September 19, 2007

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Intro and Set Up
pilates picture

Beginning to Reach Over

by Peter Kramer, courtesy of Kolesar Studios, (c) 2006

Mermaid side stretch lengthens and opens the side body. It has an inner flow to it -- a dynamic between breath and stretch, and ground and skyward reach that makes it special. Use mermaid as a gentle warm up or as more intense stretch later in your routine.

Keeping the sit bones grounded as the arm extends in a long, up and over reach, will connect the stretch through the center of the body. Mermaid is also a good lesson in keeping the scapula settled in the back as the arm moves.



Set Up
  • Sit on the floor with both legs folded to the left side.

  • Make a connection between your pelvis and your ribs so that you are flat, as if your torso was between two sheets of glass.

  • The right hand is on the floor providing some support as you sit upright.
    Like most Pilates exercises, the real support for the move comes from the abdominals.

  • Keep your left shoulder down, away from your ear, as you extend your left arm straight up above your head. Bring the inside of the arm as close to your ear as you can without hiking up the shoulder.
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