Pigeon pose .. half the people in my class cringe.. and half.. ok maybe less than half cant wait to get going. As a society that sits in cars (I used to commute 2 hr a day) and then at a desk (8 + hr a day) no freaking wonder our hips are cranky. Whether you love them or hate them its important to spend time with them. The health of your hips is crucial to the health of your back. There are tons of different hip openers to help you accomplish this but what happens when the fearful pigeon pose is mentioned! Often times we are straining our knees, feet and hips to get in to it. So here are some modifications to help you find the right pigeon for you.
Gentle to challenging =1-5
Figure 4 pigeon: probably the most pleasant and you can do it in your bed EVERY DAY.. JUST DO IT
101: lay on your back. Cross your right foot over your left thigh and flex your foot to protect the knee. Bend the left leg and bring it towards your chest one hand on either side of your thigh. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your head down.
Great for: sensitive knees and feet and back
Stretch depth: 1
Down dog pigeon: ok this I’m most definitely sure is made up. It’s not an “original” yoga pose. But man it feels good!!
101: cross your right foot over your left thigh and flex your foot to protect the knee. Bend in the left leg coming on to the ball of the foot. You can walk your hands back a little to get more of a stretch. Keep your spine straight. DO BOTH SIDES. hold for 5 breaths.
Great for: sensitive knees and feet
Stretch depth: 2
Chair pose pigeon: those of you who know me know I’m obsessed with chair pose .. in every way I can do it J
101: cross your right foot over your left thigh and flex your foot to protect the knee. Bend in the left leg and sit the weight back in to your heal. You can fold foreword (left knee bent or straight) to get a sneaky back and hamstring stretch. Keep your spine long.
Great for: sensitive feet and knees. It’s also a nice sneaky hamstring and low back stretch if you fold foreword. YOU MUST HAVE GOOD BALANCE …or a wall
Stretch depth: 3
if you want a little more stretch in your hamstrings try the forward fold version
Seated pigeon: agnistambhasana …..also known as the box of terror… JK! Maybe you’ ll love it
101: with both knees bent stack your right shin on top of the left. Flex both your feet to protect the knees. Don’t let the ankles slide to the inside you want a nice square shape. Your bottom leg (left leg) can be extended if it’s to intense. You can walk your hands foreword or to the right or left to get a little to get more of a stretch. Keep your spine straight.
Great for: sensitive feet. This one is very subjective some people’s knees hurt more some less some backs more some less. Pay attention to how you feel.
Stretch depth: 4
and if those sound crazy try straightening out the bottom leg
The official pigeon: eka pada rajakapotasana!!!!
101: bring your right shin foreword and your left leg is extended straight back. Flex your right foot to protect the knee, the foot can be back by the hip for less stretch and parallel to the top of the mat for a deeper one. Square the hips foreword. If you’re rolling over to one side put a blanket or block under your right hip. You can fold down straight, or take your arms to the right or left to get a side stretch as well. If you want to stretch your quads or back you can play with the steps in to king pigeon. Start by grabbing on to your left foot and kicking the foot in to the hand. Keep your torso squaring foreword. If you want to move further than rotate the left elbow up and grab on to the top of your left foot with both the right and left hand. Wowza!
Great for: super flexible people …. where do you come from!!!
Stretch depth: 5
and a little harder .. more of a quad stretch and back bend
Whatever you do have breath, pay attention to your body and remember doing pigeon pose won’t make you enlightened It’s just fun.