Pigeon pose is either a nightmare or a dream.
I’ve heard many people call it their favorite pose, while to others, this pose only causes discomfort.
The pose includes a major external rotation of the hip and deep stretch of the piriformis (muscle in the glutes). It’s a wonderful stretch for those at a seated desk job or cyclists/runners.
Even if you find pigeon pose to be a pain in the rear (quite literally), with so many variations of pigeon, you’ll be able to find at least one that works best for your body.
Bare Bones Pose
- Place your left knee on the outside of the left wrist
Shimmy your left foot toward the edge of the mat
Lengthen out the back leg.
Try to keep your hips squared off. If you find your left hip is way off the ground, put a block under your hip.
If pigeon is uncomfortable or you can’t feel the glute stretch, switch to lying pigeon pose. While lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, cross your left ankle over the right knee. If you want to go deeper, grab the right thigh and pull the shin towards your chest.
Not the nicest name…but oh my, what an amazing passive stretch. Put your legs up the wall, the cross the left ankle over the right knee. Start to bend your right knee allowing the foot to slide down the wall. If you notice your left knee caving inward, push it away with your left hand.
Craddled lying pigeon
For an even deeper lying pigeon, release the right leg and hug your left shin into your chest. Craddle like a baby 🙂
Get a deeper stretch by lowering your pigeon to the floor or blocks. Try your best to rest and relax in this pose.
Thread the needle pigeon
Before you enter sleeping pigeon, slide the left arm across the right knee. Lie on the back of the left shoulder. Wrap the right arm behind your back for a great shoulder opener.
Looking for a quick hip stretch? Just have a seat with the knees slightly bent and your hands behind your back. Cross your right ankle over the left knee, then slowly bring the right foot towards your body as the left shin meets your chest.
From a seated position, cross your right ankle over the left knee so that the knees and ankles stack on top of each other. Lean forward to deepen the stretch.
To add the twist, place your hands in prayer. Cross your right elbow over the right foot.
Still a pigeon variation in my eyes. From upright pigeon pose, reach back with your right hand to grab the top of the right foot. Slide your right foot into your elbow crease. Reach up with the left arm and bend at the elbow to interlock your fingers. Square off your chest to the front. Yes, you’re a real creature of the sea now.
If your really want to get crazy with the backbend- try ROYAL PIGEON.
Quad pull in sleeping pigeon
Your quads will thank you after this. Make a loop with your strap. Put the loop around your back leg as you find pigeon pose. As you fall forward to sleeping pigeon pose, pull the strap in front of you so the back knee naturally bends.
Pigeon in chair
Practice your balance and stretch your glutes! Cross your left ankle over the right knee. Use the strength of the right leg to sit back into your “chair”. Keep your chest up!
Arm balance time! From chair pigeon, lean forward to place your hands on the ground. Keep your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle to make a shelf for your right shin. Transfer your shin to your triceps as you lean forward. Lift the back toes off the ground and slowly extend your back leg. Let your pigeon fly!