Our hips are a complex system of powerful tendons, muscles, and ligaments that are crucial to our
capability to move. Activities such as walking, cycling, and running can strengthen our hips, but these are
not able to stretch or to flex properly. But in yoga, there are many ways to handle this stiffness of hips.
Some poses help us to increase the outward or external, rotation of the thigh bone in the hip socket as
well as others extend the psoas muscle. Pigeon Pose is a tremendously effective and probably the best
hip opener that addresses both areas, with the back leg in position to stretch the psoas and the front leg
working in external rotation. In Sanskrit, “Kapota” means “Pigeon” and “Asana” means sit, posture or
pose. So “Kapotasana” in English Pigeon Pose. Pigeon Pose is a complete and good body workout.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the Pigeon Pose.
Put your hands and knees on the mat. Your hands should be straight from your shoulders.
Spread your palms on the ground.
Keep your knees hip wide. Your feet should be on the ground normally with the toes folded.
Now, carefully bring your left knee upwards from the floor while maintaining the shape from the
beginning step. Balance your body on your hands and right knee.
Bring your right knee forward near your left wrist. Keep your head in a neutral position.
Lay down your left knee under your body as shown in the picture. Relax your left foot on the
Breathe normally. Put your hands firmly on the ground. Bring your left leg as front as you can.
Now, start straightening your right leg on the mat.
Lower your right leg and lay it down on the ground. Make sure that your front thigh, knee and
your foot relax on the floor.
Stretch your tailbone. Push your hips towards the ground while your left leg is folded in front of
you like the picture.
Push your belly forward, making a “U” shape curve on your back. Feel the stretch of your
hipbones and frontal thigh muscles.
Bring your hands in front and down your body. Put more weight on your hands.
Bend your elbows and put them on the ground. Make sure that your shoulder is directly over
Stretch your spine while your legs are in the same pose. Keep your shoulder blades relaxed.
To balance better, make an interlocking finger squeeze with your fingers.
Bend your body further downwards by balancing on your elbows.
Incline your head and shoulder downwards. Try to touch the ground with your forehead.
Stretch your spine more. Incline as much as your body is flexible.
That’s how you do Pigeon pose. After reaching the highest point, hold 1-2 minutes. Then, lift your body,
return your left leg back and get back on both your hands and knees. Once complete, do the same with
another side of your body following a short break.
This is an extreme stretching pose, so be careful not to push hard if you’re new or not flexible enough. If
you don’t feel comfortable, you can use a pillow or a bolster under your hips. Over time, you’ll be able
to stretch as far as possible.
This pose is tremendously good for your body. It’s a slightly difficult pose with numerous physical
advantages. It’s a critical pose for increasing overall agility, flexibility and speed. Some physical benefits
- Stretches internal organs
- Stretches psoas muscles and groins for better flexibility
- Stretches piriformis muscles
- Relieves sciatic pains
This pose is very useful for athletes. This pose will help the hips to open up. This allows a range of free
motions and puts less strain on the knees. Less knee strain is useful for pivot sports like basketball,
tennis or soccer. The flexibility also reduces the risk of ACL.
This pose is also great for psychological balances. It helps you get rid of stress, anxiety, and tension. It’s a
great pose for starting your day. A regular routine will help you being refreshed for the whole day.
However, if you’re suffering from the following symptoms, it’s better for you not to do this pose.
- A sacroiliac or back injury
- Ankle injury
- Knee injury
- Extreme tight hips
Take the fun of this pose and enjoy your physical and spiritual improvements!