Three Tips For A Better Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose seems to be the quintessential yoga hip opener. While it may be tempting to just flop into the pose and hang out there yin style, a much more profound experience can be had with a little alignment. Holding integrity in Adho Mukha Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, as it’s called in (a mouthful!) of sanskrit, not only protects our knees, but gives more long-lasting results. Being consistently active in postures always lends a sense of empowerment by maintaining presence and cultivating awareness.

Here are three tips to help you build a better Pigeon Pose.

1. Keep your front foot active

If your front foot is closer to your pelvis, the hip opening is decreased, while moving it forward, toward your arms, deepens the stretch in the hips. Regardless of where your front foot is, make it active. Spread your toes and keep your ankle straight, not sickled. When your foot is active, your outer ankle will lift off the ground. Your heel will either be lighter on the ground, or lift off of it altogether.

2. Square your hips

The image I love for this is: If your front hip bones were headlights you’d want them to point straight ahead. When they do, the front hip often hovers above the ground. This requires an engagement of the legs to hold the alignment of the pose with integrity. Squeeze your legs towards each other, front-to-back, to gather support and the power needed to square your hips. With the right knee forward this will feel like a slight clockwise shift in the pelves; it will be anti-clockwise with the left knee forward.

3. Engage your back leg

Many people are so asleep in their back leg that their heel drops in towards the mid-line when they practice this yoga pose. It can turn the hips out and decrease their ability to stretch in the hips and low back. A good landmark to keep in mind is the back knee. Point the kneecap straight down and you’ll get a much better aligned Pigeon posture. You can also try it with your toes curled under (as pictured) to keep more awareness in your back leg.


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