Pigeon pose (aka eka pada rajakapotasana) is a great hip opener that can be challenging for beginners to master. Beginners should focus on keeping their hips square toward the front of the mat and may need to use a yoga strap to help with this.
Pigeon Pose stretches the hip flexors, which can become tight due to long periods of sitting and can contribute to back pain (1, 2). It also strengthens the knees and lower back.
Proper Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose is a hip-opening stretch that can also help ease back pain and tension. Whether you’re new to yoga or an experienced yogi, this pose is one that every practitioner should add to their routine.
Before attempting this pose, you should always perform a thorough warmup to avoid any discomfort or injury. Then, you can gradually work your way into pigeon pose.
Start in downward-facing dog and move your right knee towards the outside of your elbow. Keep your foot flexed to protect your knee.
This variation of pigeon pose is called the single-legged pigeon pose. It’s a great stretch for the hips and lower back but can cause damage to the piriformis muscle if performed incorrectly. To prevent this, you should take steps to ensure that your hips are aligned properly and that your back leg isn’t twisted.
Modified Pigeon Pose
If you have tight hip flexors, or any other issue that prevents you from comfortably lowering your torso over the back leg in Pigeon Pose, try this modified version of the pose to open up your inner hips and lower back. Start in a tabletop position and then slowly bring the left knee back towards the front of the mat, aiming for the space between your feet.
This variation puts less pressure on the hips and knees, making it a great choice for beginners or those with sensitive joints. It also provides a gentle forward fold and helps to stretch the lower back, says Verdier. If you are unable to rest your forehead on the floor, place a block or pillow underneath your head.
Pregnant Pigeon Pose
While pigeon pose is safe for pregnancy, it is important to check with your doctor and yoga instructor before trying it. If you do decide to try it, Beth Donnelly Caban suggests placing pillows or blocks under the buttock on the side of the bent knee for support. This helps to keep the hips open and reduces stress on the lower back, hips and obliques.
This pose is good for pregnant women with tight hips, as it opens and lengthens the hip flexors. It also increases flexibility in the lower back muscles, piriformis and shoulder girdle. It’s also believed to help ease digestion, reduce fatigue and alleviate mental stress or worry since Ayurveda claims that these emotions are stored in the hips. It can also relieve sciatic nerve pain.
Seated Pigeon Stretch
When your hip flexors are tight, it can make it difficult to lower your back leg all the way to the floor. This can cause lower back pain or worsen existing back pain. If you’re not able to do full Pigeon Pose due to this condition, try the seated variation of the pose, which can help you release tension without straining your hips or back.
This pose helps lengthen the hip flexors, and also strengthens the core, chest, shoulders, and neck. It also helps stimulate the abdominal organs and improve digestion. This is a great stretch for people who spend long periods of time sitting at work or home. It’s also helpful for anyone who suffers from knee, ankle or back pain or injury.
Pigeon Stretch Yoga
Pigeon pose is a great posture to strengthen and open the hips. It’s also an excellent stretch for the knees, lower back, and ankles. This pose is challenging for many beginners, but it is possible to do with proper instruction and the use of props. This is a good practice to add to your yoga routine.
Unlike the full Pigeon Pose, this variation doesn’t put pressure on the front knee, so it is less likely to hurt. However, the foot should still be flexed to protect the knee joint.
This symmetrical version of Pigeon Pose removes the hip extension, giving you a more targeted outer-hip stretch, says Verdier. It’s a great option for those with hip flexor tightness or a knee injury, and it allows for a more gradual opening of the hips than the full version of Pigeon Pose.
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Frequently Asked Questions
I am not flexible and able to do yoga. What should I do next?
Most people who think they aren’t flexible enough for yoga start by doing simple stretches and gentle movements. These movements allow you to stretch easily without putting stress on your muscles.
A few basic yoga moves to try include forward bends (Paschimottanasana), forward facing dog pose (“Adho Mukha Svanasana”), and forward bends (Padmasana).
You can take on more challenging poses as your flexibility improves, such as the warrior II pose (Virabhadrasana 2), tree pose (Vrksasana) and triangle pose (Trikonasana).
Yoga will improve your flexibility if you continue to practice it regularly.
Is there any difference in yoga and mediation?
While these two activities share many similarities, they differ significantly in structure, purpose, and duration.
Yoga focuses on improving physical strength, flexibility, stamina and balance.
On the other hand, meditation aims to calm your mind, ease tension and promote inner peace.
What is the difference of yoga and meditation?
Both yoga and meditation involve focusing on your body and breathing. However, their methods and goals differ. Meditation focuses on being mindful and present, while yoga emphasizes movement and stretching.
Find a class in your area to get started. Free classes are available at parks, gyms, community centers and high schools.
Online search may offer information that can help you find the right place to go. Ask friends, family, or your local library for assistance.
- According to a research project published in the (opens in new tab) in 2009, flexibility increased in just six weeks when subjects practiced Iyengar yoga once a week. (livescience.com)
- Meanwhile, according to a review published in the journal (opens in new tab) in 2015, there is evidence to suggest that Bikram yoga has favorable effects on metabolic markers, including blood lipids, insulin resistance, and glucose tolerance. (livescience.com)
- This type of yoga consists of a set 26-posture series and two breathing exercises in a room heated to 104℉ (40℃) in 40% humidity to help recreate the Indian climate Choudhury knew. (livescience.com)
- Bikram yoga is named after Bikram Choudhury and features a set pose sequence in a sauna-like room typically set to 105 degrees and 40% humidity. (mindbodygreen.com)
- People practice Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, in artificially heated rooms at a temperature of nearly 105oF and 40% humidity. (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Yoga’s Effects on Quality of Life and Pain among Women With Ch… Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy
- Yoga as Steadiness Training: The Effects on Motor Variability In… : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research
- PubMed’s systematic review of Yoga for Balance in a Healthy Population – PubMed
- Effect of 10 weeks of yoga on flexibility and balance among college athletes – PMC
- The effects of selected asanas in Iyengar yoga on flexibility: pilot study – PubMed
- Treatment of Major Depressive Disorders using Iyengar Yoga/Coherent Breathing. Randomized Controlled Dosing Study. PubMed
These 10 Best Yoga Poses Are Essential to Learn
The ten best yoga poses for beginners are designed to help you feel relaxed and energized. These poses will help you increase flexibility, improve your posture, and alleviate stress.
- Dogs that are downward looking
- Warrior Pose
- Seated Forward Bend
- Standing Forward Fold
- Cobra Pose
- The Child’s Pose
- Triangle Pose
- Half Moon Pose
- High Lunge
- Low Lunge