Also called the king of hip openers! The Pigeon will help release and open the hips from every angle; plus if you let yourself relax it may just draw you into deep bliss. Pigeon pose is usually practiced after the backbending series and before the Half-Spinal Twist, and like its more advanced variation, the King Pigeon, is considered a backbend. Here we will walk you through a series of variations for all levels.
- Increases range of motion in the hip
- Massages and stimulates internal organs
- Provides a deep stretch for hip flexors, glute, groin, and psoas
- Relieves sciatic pain
- Creates a backbend
- King Pigeon provides a deep backbend and stretches the quadriceps
- Knee problems or pain
Kapotasana / Pigeon Pose
1. Start by relaxing in Child’s Pose. Then, press back into Inverted V.
2. On the exhale, bring the right leg forward, placing the knee at your right wrist and the heel in front of the left hip. *The right knee can be in line with the hip or to the right of it, but do NOT angle it to the left of the hipline. This can damage the hip.
3. Gently lower the right buttock as close to the ground as possible, squaring the hips.
4. Place your hands down on either side of the body for support. Puff out your chest like a proud pigeon, arching the back slightly.
5. Breathe deeply. Relax deeper with every exhale.
6. Slowly walk your hands forward and lower the abdomen onto the right leg, keeping the chest open. Do not hunch the back.
7. Breathe into this new stretch, surrender with every exhalation.
8. Use your arms to help yourself back up to Pigeon.
Rajakapotasana / King Pigeon Pose
Each of the following steps are stages in the Full King Pose. Stop at whatever stage is comfortable, don’t force yourself into any of these postures. Have fun…
9. Preparation: bend the left knee. Stay here, or if you can, take hold of the ankle with the left hand. If this is enough, stop here.
10. Hook the left elbow around the ankle for a deeper stretch.
11. Reach the right arm behind the head and clasp the left hand.
12. Full pose: Reach the left hand back over your head and hold the left foot. Do the same with the right hand. Arch back, try to bring the foot towards your head.
13. To release, place both hands on either side of the right knee, on the exhale press back to Inverted V. Repeat on the left side.
14. Relax in Child’s Pose.
- Easier, have the front foot bent in towards the groin, For a deeper hip opener, you can move the right heel farther forward.
- When going into variations, the back hip tends to open up. Keep pulling it forward to square the hips.
- Keep front foot relaxed.
- When folding forward, you can stack your hand underneath your head to for a more gentle stretch, then as you relax allow the body to come closer to the floor.
- If you have very limited hip mobility you may also consider placing a pillow or under the hip of the front leg for comfort and the greater ability to relax.