Benefits and Uses
The pigeon pose creates a deep hip and thigh stretch and is excellent as a cool down after challenging strengthening poses. For pregnant women, it is ideal for releasing tension in the hips and lower back. The pose can also be used in a sequence with other restorative poses, held for a few minutes at a time using lots of props for maximum support.
Incorporate the pigeon pose into your practice after you have sufficiently warmed up the body – this will create more ease coming into the pose and allow you to go deeper.
From downward facing dog or table top (all fours), stretch one leg back long behind you in preparation. Bring the leg forward in between your hands as you bend your knee, resting the leg behind the hand of that same side. Your back leg will be stretched out straight behind you, knee and top of the foot on the floor (or on a blanket if pain occurs). Using your arm strength at both sides of your body to prop you up while you adjust your hips so they are level with one another. If there is a great discrepancy between the height and position of each hip, place a folded blanket under the hip of the bent leg in order to support it. Keep your spine long as you walk your hands out in front of you and fold over your front thigh. Sink into your hips feeling the deep stretch.
- Breath: Focus on your ujjayi breath as you explore the intensity of sensation in this pose. Visualize your breath infiltrating your body, creating space where needed; release tension with each exhale.
- Modifications: As your belly grows you may need to adjust your legs and torso to create space for the baby. Placing a blanket or cushion below your chest will allow your belly space to rest without pressure from the floor. Play around with placement of props to maximize comfort. If at any time you feel localized pain slowly come out of the pose and rest.
- Release: Slowly walk your hands back until they are by your hips, using your arms strength to lift your torso up from the ground. Lean towards the side of your bent (front) leg as you swing the other around and come to sit on your buttocks. Take a moment to breath and rest as you prepare for the other side.