Open your hips; achieve calmness and peace of mind.
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) Step-by-step Guide
Start by resting on the mat on your hands and knees. Slowly bring your right knee behind your right wrist by moving it forward. Your calf should be if front of the left side of your pelvis.
To deepen the pose, lower your leg as close to the mat as possible.
Bring your left leg back and maintain the posture of your knee. Your leg should draw a straight line behind you. Make sure it is not drawn outwardly and your heel is pointing up.
To bring more support to your hips, bring your legs closer together.
Slowly lower your torso to the floor at the level of your hips. If you prefer, you can use blankets or towels to support your backside.
While you inhale, lower your upper body and move your arms forward. Keep your neck relaxed and rest your head on either the mat or on your forearms.
Next, open your chest and tuck your tailbone. Stay in this position for anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Release the pose by taking the pressure off your right hip and shifting your weight on both of your legs while pushing your body weight through your arms and lifting your pelvis.
Common Mistakes of Pigeon Pose
The pigeon pose requires quite a lot of focus and flexibility to perform, but it can made even harder by small modifications that may lead to injuries.
This pose is a deep stretch for your hips, so you should be careful when performing this pose and listen to your body in case you feel pain.
If you want to find out what the most common pitfalls are when it comes to the pigeon pose and how you can fix them, read on.
Allowing Your Thighs to Touch the Mat
Not only does it make the pose harder, but it is also a useless endeavour. Instead, focus on keeping your hip points pointed forward. This prevents you from overworking your ligaments.
To fix this, put a yoga block under your bent leg to prevent your thighs from touching the floor and help maintain your balance.
Not Relaxing Your Shoulders
Another common pitfall for this pose is not relaxing your shoulders.
You may feel the tendency to engage your shoulder blades to deepen the pose, but this will do more harm than good.
Instead, roll your shoulder blades back and forth and relax your upper back on an exhale.
Putting Your Foot Under Your Thigh
You may feel the tendency to put your foot under your tight instead of bringing it forward.This actually makes the pose uncomfortable and puts even more pressure on your body.
To fix this, shift your body weight on your arms and move your foot up by a few inches until your foot no longer touches your thigh.
Be aware of any pain in your knee. This could be a sign that you are not prepared for this deep stretch.
The pigeon pose requires quite a lot of focus and flexibility. If you are just getting started, there are other poses that can help make your body more flexible.
Pigeon Pose Variations
The pigeon pose itself is a variation of the one-legged king pigeon pose (an advanced backbend) that works as strong hip opener.
Raise Your Arms Up
In the classic pigeon pose, you stretch your arms in front of you and your forehead rests on the mat or on your elbows.
In this variation, you lift your torso away from the mat, perpendicular with the floor. Next, engage your spine and slowly lift your arms up, stretching through your fingers.
This variation works as an energy booster before an intense workout or busy day.
Use Yoga blocks
If you are feeling too much pressure on your back or shoulders when you rest your head on the mat, you can use a yoga block to release some of the tension.
Rest with your head on a block to make it easier for you to relax your neck, shoulder, and back.
Anchor Your Torso Using Your Fingers
In this variation, you will raise your torso up perpendicular to the floor with your arms beside you. Make sure your gaze is forward and your spine is engaged.
Bring your arms down until you touch the floor with your fingers. Spread your fingers and push them against the floor.
This pigeon pose variation will help you out if you want a gentler stretch for your back.
For a few other variations which especially help with tight hips, check out this article on peanutbutterrunner.com.
Pigeon Pose Benefits
The pigeon pose is known as one of the most effective hip openers and pain prevention tools.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you are putting a lot of pressure on some parts of you body (your sitting bones) and completely ignoring some muscles in the hip area.
As you age, it becomes increasingly important to strengthen your hip rotators and hip flexors because it helps you become more graceful and tension free.
Increases Hip Flexibility
The hips are the center of movement. When your hips are stiff, your legs will not be as flexible either.
Factors such as diet, lifestyle, and genetics can influence the rate at which your hip bones deteriorate, but working those neglected areas in your body can prevent the pain and stiffness that comes with with hip-related illnesses.
The pigeon pose works by opening the hip and lengthening the hip flexor.
Brings Relief in Urinary Disorders
Due to the toxins that we consume daily from canned foods, vegetables that are sprayed with pesticides, and other types of pollution, our immune system is bombarded with threats. This is when inflammation occurs.
The inflammation of the urinary system is quite common in women and males over 60. However, it can be managed if you boost your immune system and stimulate your kidney.
You can achieve this by stimulating the energetic point in your body that impacts your kidney or by practicing the pigeon pose regularly.
Releases Negative Emotions Trapped Inside Your Body
The pigeon pose stimulates the sacral chakra, the energetic point that deals with your emotional side, sensuality, and playfulness. It is blocked by negative thoughts.
When you practice the pigeon pose regularly, you actively work towards releasing the negative thoughts about yourself and others.
This could be bitterness towards those who caused you pain or the guilt of not becoming what you should have become or not acting the way you should have.
Stretches Your Back and Improves Your Posture
Another benefit of the pigeon pose is its positive effect on your back.
A gentle back stretch can help you elongate your spine, release tension in your back muscles, and prevent pain due to hunching.
If you rarely use the muscles of your back in your everyday life, you are at risk of developing back pain and scoliosis later in life. This is why working those muscles is so important for your health.
The Pigeon Pose and the Sacral Chakra
The pigeon pose, like other hip openers, stimulates the sacral chakra, the energetic point that regulates your playfulness, creativity, and romantic relationships.
But the sacral chakra is not only impacting your mind but also your body. Infertility, liver, and kidney issues are a sign that your sacral chakra is not balanced enough.
You can live with a low sacral chakra for your entire life without even knowing, thinking that being “too serious” or a lover of routine is actually your personality when it fact it is just an imbalance.
But stimulating this energetic point can save your relationships and help you look at life with joy again.
If you often lack playfulness, spontaneity, or you just find it hard to express your creativity, the pigeon pose can help you out.
This pose can also help you look at life from a different angle and release all the negative emotions inside you. In the end, the sacral chakra helps you find joy in life, no matter who you are and where you are.
On the flip side, if you have too much sacral chakra, you should avoid practicing any hip openers.
When your sacral chakra is too high, the search for pleasure comes first, with a complete disregard to other people’s feelings.
Arrogance and a sense of deserving things you do not work for are also signs of an overactive sacral chakra.
The pigeon pose is recommended for Yoga practitioners who already have some experience with hips openers and other asanas that require strength and flexibility. If you are just getting started, I recommended you look at beginner level hip openers.
You should avoid the pose if you are experiencing knee pain, lower back pain, or discomfort. The pigeon pose is also not recommended for Yoga practitioners who suffer from arthritis.
Did you benefit from this article? Did I miss anything? Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated – please post in the comments and I will personally respond!
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