Mermaid on the Pilates Reformer is often overlooked including by me. A trickier exercise for my body and super easy to cheat through it. But, when done right this exercise has some epic stretch, strength and a challenge for your two -way stretch. If you're working on your tall back and side bending then you'll definitely want to explore Mermaid on the Reformer as it will teach your body and strengthen your body for many exercises that require length and strength. You can also do Mermaid on the Mat. It won't have the same feedback as the springs can offer but it will allow you to focus on your length.
Reach your tailbone down and reach both arms from your back to lift.
Place 2 heavy springs on, foot bar up and sit with your hip on the carriage and your shins, ideally stacked on top of each other in the shoulder rests. Place your inside hand on the foot bar and your other arm up to the sky. Sit as tall as you can, reach your tailbone down as it's easy to stick it out in this position. Reach both arms from your back. This way you won't press the carriage out with your shoulder or feel like the more you lift your other arm off your back and into your ear that you are getting taller.
Using your legs reach into the shoulder rests to move the carriage out and then reaching into your arms and legs lift up your waist and close the spring. Repeat2-3x. Then take your shoulder rest arm hold the shoulder block in front of you and take your outside arm up and over to counter stretch. You can also start or end the series by placing both arms on the foot bar and working a twist as your legs press the carriage out. Repeat each variation 2-3x. Then turning towards your shoulder rests repeat on the other side.
Be sure to check out more of my online Pilates Reformer exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Reformer training!