Pigeon Pose, or Kapotasana, is a common hip opener we do often in yoga. There are many variations available to help every body type take advantage of this pose. If you are not comfortable in this pose, please ask an instructor what style might be best for you.
Its benefits are plenty:
Opens and stretches the hip rotators and hip flexors
Lengthens the front body
Stretches the glutes, quads, and thigh muscles
Stimulates blood flow to the hip area
Helps to alleviate low back pain and prevent sciatica
Aligns pelvis and increases pelvic floor circulation
Tips on how to master pigeon pose:
- Start in tabletop or downward dog, raising your right leg and sweeping it forward toward your right wrist. Position your right knee behind your right wrist and flex your right foot behind your left hand. Slide your left leg straight back in line with your left hip. *Put a pillow, blanket, or yoga block under your left hip if this is too strenuous.*
- Your front knee should be directly in line with your right hip and hips should align with the front of the mat.
- Relax your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your spine on an inhale before extending over your front leg.
- Make sure your tailbone extends back toward your feet while your chest reaches forward. Relax completely and find a comfortable position for your arms to rest. Again, use props under your knees, hips or head to make this position comfortable. Stay in this pose for as long as its comfortable, at least a couple of breaths.
- When you're ready to move on, place your hands underneath your shoulders and press up, pushing your chest forward and opening your heart. Keep your shoulders down and away from ears. You shouldn't feel any pain in your lower back.
- If you would like to further your pigeon practice, slowly kick up your left leg and grab the inside of your left foot with your left hand. Take a couple of breaths and feel the quad stretch before releasing.
- To get out of pigeon, press up onto your left toes and release your right leg to meet your left in downward dog. Or, come to your knees in tabletop position and meet right and left legs together. Now try with the opposite side.
This is a great pose to try with aerial yoga too (see the photo above under aerial updates!)