This one is for my clients who are on holiday hiatus!  If Mermaid on the reformer is one of your favorite Pilates stretches, you’re going to love Mermaid Spiral on the mat.


quadratuslumborumMermaid Spiral is so handy when you don’t have access to a Pilates Reformer for Mermaid Twist.  Both versions of this stretch provide a mighty stretch to your QL’s (aka quadratus lumborum) the muscles that attach your lower ribcage to the top of your pelvis. You’ve got two of these big bands, one on either side of your spine.

I find that people who have low back tension, or tension around their sacrum (just above your tailbone) benefit quite a bit from a QL stretch.

Side note: if you’ve been finding relief from low back pain by stretching your psoas, you’re in for a treat — QL stabilizes and mobilizes your spine and hips from the back of your body, while psoas works from the front. Stretching both muscles can make you feel 20 years younger!

Mermaid Spiral on the Mat



  1. Start in Mermaid pose: one shin to the front, one to the side.
  2. Twist away from your feet. Yes, one butt cheek with lift a bit; that’s ok. Take a couple breaths here, remembering to let allllll the air out.
  3. Climb your way down onto the floor. You can stay here for up to 5 minutes, as long as you don’t feel tingling or numbness. Breathe easy here. Every once in awhile, see if you can climb your hands a little farther away from your hips. Notice how close or far your torso is from the floor.
  4. Climb out of the twist somewhat slowly. Discs can shift here, so you’re better off giving your body a bit of time to adapt.
  5. Switch to side 2. Be sure to note how close or far your torso is from the floor. If you have a side that floats off the floor more, consider giving that side some extra time in the stretch. Ask me for tips in class about how to “even out” your two sides.