Day 2: Pigeon Pose
Updated: May 1, 2022
Perhaps if we called Pigeon "dove pose" I would like it better, but for some reason this pose and I have been frenemies for life. Pigeon is another hip opener & we talked a little bit about hip openers yesterday (one leg neutral, the other is externally rotated).
I love to offer pigeon at the end of an intense strengthening class. It's the type of pose that requires yogis to release into fear and doubt, and almost command their muscles to stop gripping on for dear life. As the grip begins to fade, some yogis may feel a physical release as well as an emotional release.
Two ways to get into pigeon:
From Down Dog
Lift a leg into three legged dog, here you can open the hip by bending the knee to give a counter-stretch to the hip flexor group.
Then, bring the lifted leg between the arm with the knee bent. I often direct my ankle to my opposite wrist and the knee to the ipsilateral (same side) wrist. For example: if my right leg is forward the right ankle is near the left wrist, right knee is near right wrist.
The angle at which your shin sits is related to the available range of motion in the hip, so don't worry if it's not parallel across the mat.
Your back leg should be extended out long behind you, with toes untucked.
If you're not interested in pushing back through down dog for the second side, there is a second option: swing the back, extended leg around to the front.
Then, swing the original side to the back. This movement feels very natural after a juicy hip stretch.
Have a wonderful Wednesday,
Kaylee, PT, DPT
Kaylee is a Doctor of Physical Therapy based in the Bay Area of California. She received her degree in 2020 from The University of Miami and is currently practicing in an Assisted Living Facility. Kaylee is passionate about all things yoga, neuro-rehab, and limb loss and limb difference rehabilitation demonstrated through practice, student education and advocacy.