While you won’t look anything like the pigeons you find at park, this pose is one of the best Yoga poses for hips. While some hip opening poses focus on the internal or outward rotation of the hip socket, and others focus on lengthening the psoas muscle (muscles that assist in flexing and rotating the thigh), Half Pigeon Pose actually helps with both external rotation and lengthening!
This pose is a modification of One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, a variation used by intermediate and advanced students due to its need for exact proper alignment. Half Pigeon Pose is great for anyone but especially beneficial to those whose jobs or lives require them to be seated a lot. Remaining seated for long periods of time can cause the muscles in your hips and thighs to shorten, which can lead to stiffness, sciatic pain, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Half Pigeon should only be done after stretching the hip flexors and thighs. It’s usually brought in towards the end of class for this exact reason.
Why you should be doing Half Pigeon Pose
- Helps facilitate both rotation and lengthening of your hips and hip muscles
- Combats pain and stiffness from sitting all day
How to perform Half Pigeon Pose
Start in Downward Facing Dog.
Extend one leg straight back, hips in line with each other, toes pointing towards the mat.
Bring your right knee in line with your right wrist and lay it on the mat, working your right foot in line with the left wrist. Walk your hands up towards your hips to check and make sure that they are both facing forward, and be careful not to sink into either hip.
Begin to walk your fingers forward, folding over your bent right leg. From here, you can either come to your forearms, stacking your fists and resting your forehead on your fists, or you can reach your fingers out all the way to the edge or past your mat and lay your forehead on the mat.
Hold for 30 seconds to two minutes, according to your comfort level and ability. You know your body better than anyone else!
Modification: Reclined Half Pigeon
Lay on your back and bend both knees towards the ceiling, feet flat on the mat. Bring the right leg over the left in a figure four. Reach your right arm in between your legs, the left arm outside the left leg, and interlace your fingers behind the left thigh. Gently begin to pull your left leg close towards your chest while keeping your right knee open.
Find the edge of your stretch and hold for 30 seconds to two minutes, again according to your comfort level and ability. Repeat on the left side.
Ready for a challenge? Try King Pigeon Pose
King Pigeon Pose is a step down from the advanced One-Legged King Pigeon Pose. Once you’re in your Half Pigeon, begin to walk your hands back up to your hips. Bend the extended leg at the knee and reach around with the same side arm, hooking the upper leg or shin into the inner elbow. The opposite arm can be used to help with balance by extending it out in front of you and placing the hand on the mat. Option to bring your gaze back towards the uplifted foot.
Chandra first fell in love with Yoga because of its known heath benefits and the way she felt after her first class; the combination was addicting and Chandra knew she wanted to share it with others! Chandra has been teaching Vinyasa Flow since 2014, and also teaches restorative and kids, and Acro-Yoga classes. C