I have read time and time again that humans store emotional tension in their hips, which is probably why Pigeon is one of my favorite yoga poses. As a highly emotional creature, I find a serene freedom within the deep hip-opener known as Pigeon Pose. I’ve recently been experiencing some emotional intensity with the onset of some crazy life incidences, so I’ve found myself in this pose a lot (even in the middle of Phantogram’s set at Lightning in a Bottle).
Hip-opening poses such as Pigeon can be challenging, especially for new yoga practitioners, due to a combination of sitting all day and emotional stress resulting in very tight hip-sockets for most individuals. The intense sensation of stretching out both the lateral rotator and hip flexor may be grueling for some at first, but the long term rewards of emotional relief and sciatic nerve maintenance are worth incorporating this pose into a daily routine.
You can get into Pigeon Pose in a few easy steps:
- Start in a table-top position on all fours
- Glide your right knee toward your right hand, and angle that knee at two o’clock
- THIS IS IMPORTANT: Make sure to keep your hips square to the floor. If your hips aren’t square, you will put too much pressure on your back and won’t benefit from the full hip-stretch.
- If you find yourself craving a deeper stretch, slide your right foot further toward your left hand little by little. In time and with practice, you should be able to bring your foot parallel with the front edge of the mat.
- THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: Your right thigh should have an external rotation and your left thigh should have a slight internal rotation in order to keep pressure off of the kneecap.
- Depending on the tightness of your hip joint, you may be able to move your arms from the beginning upright position on your hands to resting on your forearms, or even to level three of resting your chest on the floor with your arms fully extended in front of you.
- Remain in the version of position that most serves you for up to five minutes, making sure to breathe in and out at your own personal rhythm.
- Get out of this position slowly and back into the tabletop position on all fours.
- Repeat the above steps on the left side.
*As I mentioned in my first post, I am not a certified yoga instructor, but merely a yoga enthusiast. Please practice at your own risk and consult your physician with any questions.