Pigeon pose

Yoga Poses

One legged Pigeon pose /eka pada ragakapotasana

Steps

Pigeon pose is a great hip opener posture which also strengthens the legs. This intense hip opener is a good pose for beginners and has plenty of benefits.

Begin in a seated cross leg pose (sukanasana) with fingertips pressing into the ground. Lift the top leg and stretch it behind the body with the toes pointing back.  Walk the hands forward and fold over the bent leg, bringing the forehead towards the ground. Hold the posture and breathe for a few minutes. Then, walk the hands back towards the hips to straighten the torso. Bend the back knee and grab your toes with both hands, while drawing the foot towards the top of your head. To exit the pose, release your hands, swing the back leg forward to cross legs. Repeat the other side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Pigeon provides a strong stretch of hip and pelvic areas. Awareness is on the release of tension as joints, muscles and tendons relax into the pose. To support your students through this process, focus on the mind-body connection with a simple breathing mantra. Inhale stretch, exhale release.  Inhale into those areas which are tight or stiff, exhale open. Inhale let, exhale go.

Technical Comments

To achieve the full pose and correct positioning, the front knee should be bent at a right angle with the foot and knee in line with the top of the mat. You may adjust the  alignment  after the back leg is stretched back.  Support the body with the hands and lift the hips off the ground to manoeuvre the right leg into position, or use the hands to lift the foot forward.  To even out the hips, lower to the forearms and descend the pelvis down.

Benefit Comments

  • Improves flexibility of hips and pelvis
  • Stretches groin and inner thighs
  • Strengthens back
  • Massages and stimulates internal organs

Watch Out For:

  • One or both hips off the floor (Use blankets, bolsters and blocks to even out the hips)
  • Back leg angled out to side (bring knee and foot in line with hip)
  • Upper chest rolling to side (fold forward onto forearms or remain in upright position, hands on blocks)
  • Rounding upper back (fold forward onto forearms or remain in upright position, hands on blocks)

Contraindications

  • Ankle and knee pain or injuries
  • Lower back pain or injuries
  • Painfully tight hips and pelvis

Modifications

  • Ankle and knee pain or injuries
  • Lower back pain or injuries
  • Painfully tight hips and pelvis

Variations

  • Pigeon pose extended (Curl toes of front foot to knee)
  • Pigeon Pose with hands in prayer

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Downward facing dog (Adho mukha svanasana)
  • Loctus pose (Salabasana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher and journalist. https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga/

Return to Yoga Pose Directory