No! Not those pigeons…….
That glorious, wonderful, can-be-oh-so-painful pose!
But really, who doesn’t love pigeon pose… or at least have a love-hate relationship with it. I love Pigeons, seated, supine, King pigeon, melting pigeon and the ever wonderful….twisted pigeon. Pigeon pose is a great hip opener (esp for IT band & Piriformis issues) back bend and chest opener, depending on how you interpret & implement the pose. The pose most seen in class is Rajakapotasana (Raja meaning ‘King’, Kapota meaning ‘Pigeon’, asana means ‘pose’ or ‘seat’). To get into the pose;
1. From the Table or Down Dog (DD is best if your body is cool with that), bring the right knee forward toward the right wrist and bring the right foot a little over to the left. Slide the left leg back, lowering the hips towards the floor.
2. Rest hands or fingertips lightly on the floor, inhale and reach the crown of the head up, creating length in the spine. Exhale and sink the hips a little lower. Press the heart center forward and release any tension in the shoulders.
3. Go only as deep into the posture as you can while still maintaining full deep breathing. Hold for 3-6 breaths.
4. To come out of the pose; gently support your weight with the hands as you slide the right knee back into Table or step the right foot back into Down Dog. Best pose/counter pose EVER. Pigeon to Down Dog…Yummy.
5. Be sure you do the other side… i.e. Left knee towards left hand ect..
A few tips for Pigeon;
*use those prop guys, pigeon is an essential pose, use the props to keep it accessible for you! Place a folded blanket under your hip if there is a lot of space between you and the floor, it will help support you
*let your breath be your guide, if it’s shallow or shaky you might be too deep in the pose or struggling to hard, just back out a bit
*keep the foot of the forward leg, flexed. That activates the muscle in the shin (tibalis anterior) that helps tp protect your knee
*pigeon can be tough if you have knee issues, there are alternatives, such as supine or seated pigeon.
a lovely example of supine pigeon, perfect if the full version is too much for your hips or back
seated pigeon, great if up have very tight hips, knee issues or just have trouble getting up and down from the floor.