Pigeon pose yoga is a great yoga pose to incorporate into your daily yoga routine, as it really helps you to open your hip area and it also helps to ease any lower back pain you might be suffering from.
The pigeon pose can be a great way to increase your general flexibility and to also stretch out your muscles. However, you need to make sure that you perform this movement correctly so that you can avoid causing yourself a further injury or putting extra muscle strain on your body.
Here, we are going to divulge in the pigeon pose and talk about the best ways to do it correctly, and we will also outline the benefits of including this pose into your yoga routine.
The Variations Of The Pigeon Pose
Formerly known as Kapotasana in Sanskrit, the pigeon pose is a very popular yoga pose which works hard to stretch out your hips and your lower back. There are actually a lot of different variations of the pigeon pose, but the most common forms include: the classic pigeon pose, the resting pigeon pose and the king pigeon pose.
Each variation of the pigeon pose comes with different stretches and different degrees of difficulty. Since the pigeon pose requires some level of flexibility, you should make sure that you do a light warm up before you practice it.
There are a lot of yoga poses that work great in helping you prepare for your pigeon pose. It is important to warm up in yoga before you start testing out any new poses, just to prevent you from injuring yourself.
The best way that you can do this before trying the pigeon pose is to attempt the downward-facing dog, or the child’s pose before going straight into the pigeon pose.
So, after you have warmed up you could begin with the classic pigeon pose, and then move on to the resting pigeon pose before you then come to the king pigeon pose.
This sequence will be a great way to prepare your body for the more challenging and the more difficult yoga variations, and this will help you to prevent any injuries along with helping you to perform the pose correctly.
The Benefits Of Practicing The Pigeon Pose
If you regularly practice the pigeon pose and you try to incorporate it into your daily yoga routine then you can actually benefit from this massively. This pose has a focus on opening your hips, which helps to support mobility and flexibility in that joint.
The pigeon pose also stretches your hip flexors and your lower back, and these areas are commonly tight due to prolonged sitting. By stretching these muscles regularly you can alleviate mild lower back pain or any hip pain.
The pigeon pose can also help to support digestion, due to the gentle stretching and the movement of your lower abdomen. In fact, the pigeon pose can also help with peristalsis, which is the movement of digested food through the intestinal tract.
Additionally to this, a lot of tension can reside in your hips. When you feel stress, or when you feel sadness, or when you feel fear, then this can be stored in your hips as tension. So, by regularly practicing this pose then you can actually relieve some of the internal stress and worry that you have.
How To Do The Pigeon Pose
Now this is the moment that you have been waiting for, here is a step-by-step guide as to how to do this pose correctly.
1. Start off doing the downward dog pose – to do this pose, you need to start on all fours and place your hands in front of you on the yoga mat. Press into your hands and into your feet, and make sure to straighten your legs and raise your hips right up towards the sky. Your body should be in an upside-down V position.
2. Raise your right leg and bring your right knee to the back of your right wrist – once you have done this you can then rotate your shin so that it is parallel with the front of your mat.
3. Keep your left leg straight as it reaches the ground – do this as you bring your right leg to the yoga mat.
4. Bring your right knee outward – do this so that it is further to the right than your hips, and make sure that your right foot is flexed towards your shin.
5. Gently lower your right buttock towards the ground – make sure that when you do this that you keep your weight equally distributed between the both of your hips. If this is hard to do at first then you can always try placing a folded towel underneath your right buttock.
6. Place both hands under your shoulders and gently press into the palms of your hands to straighten and elongate your spine – when you do this you should look straight ahead and really feel the stretch. At this stage, you will have achieved the classic pigeon pose.
7. Now you can take a deep breath and as you exhale, lower your torso over your right leg – when you do this you should make sure that you stretch your arms straight in front of you, and your elbows should be slightly bent.
8. Place your forehead on either a yoga block or on your forearms crossed in front of you – if you find this to be uncomfortable for you then you should try and reach forward as far as you are comfortable. Gradually build yourself up to fully progress on to this movement.
9. Gently bring your shoulders back away from your ears so that you are in a relaxed position – make sure that you hold this position for 5-10 slow deep breaths.
10. You can then repeat this on the other side.
Now we can progress on to how to do the king pigeon pose, and to get started you should follow steps 1-6 that we have listed above and then progress into the following steps:
1. With your right leg bent and with your left leg straight, bend your left knee – this will bring your left foot towards your back, and be sure to keep your toe pointed.
2. Lift your left arm upwards – then slowly bend your elbow backward and grab your left foot. During this you might happen to lift your chin and look upwards, and this is completely fine so long as you avoid bending your neck backward.
Like last time, make sure that you hold this position for 5-10 slow, deep breaths and then you can repeat it on the other side. For most beginners, this move can be quite tricky and it could also increase the risk of injury.
You should only try the king pigeon pose when your flexibility improves, and when you find the classic and resting pigeon pose relatively easy.
The Risks That Come With The Pigeon Pose
The pigeon pose is generally a really safe yoga pose, but you could end up increasing your risk of injury if you end up performing this stretch with too much aggression, or, by going beyond what your body is able to do.
If you tend to suffer from chronic hip, knee or lower back problems then you should avoid practicing this pose unless it is recommended that you try this by a healthcare professional.
There is a growing concern that the pigeon pose can overstretch the gluteal tendons, these are the tendons that attach to the outer hip bones. Over time this can end up weakening the tendons, and this can present as a range of hip-related issues.
Some people can find it really difficult to bring their shin parallel to the front of their yoga mat and instead they might end up tucking their shin far too closely to their body. Over time this could actually result in knee injury due to excess pressure that you end up putting on your knees.
In order to overcome these risks you can try to place a folded towel underneath your right buttocks and thigh in order to improve the way that your hips are positioned and also to help improve the way that your knees are positioned. By doing this you can reduce pressure and also the risk of injury.
Overall, the pigeon pose is a great yoga pose to help you stretch your hips and your lower back. When this is performed correctly then you can also increase the flexibility of the hip flexors and the lower back muscles, while also supporting digestion. This pose can also help you to alleviate mental stress or worry.
So if you want to add something new to your yoga routine then you should consider adding pigeon pose into your routine.