Pigeon pose (kapotasana) is a popular yoga posture with many variations. It stretches the hip flexors, opens the hips, and strengthens your core. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced yogi, mastering the pigeon pose will help you increase flexibility and reduce stress in your body.
Pigeon Pose is an incredible yoga pose for improving overall flexibility, especially of the hips. It's an excellent way to open up tightness from exercise and everyday activities that can cause strain in your body.
The best part is that it can be tailored to meet the needs of all fitness levels. For beginners, it's advised to start with a modified version of the pose and work up to the full expression as their strength and flexibility improve.
For experienced yogis, plenty of variations offer a challenge and a deeper level of flexibility. No matter how you approach the Pigeon Pose, your body will thank you!
This article discusses how to do the pigeon pose, its benefits, and its variations.
How to Do Pigeon Pose & Its Benefits
Pigeon pose is a hip opener yoga pose that stretches and opens up the hips, thighs, and pelvis. Let's dive in to look at a pigeon pose:
- To begin, get into a tabletop position on the floor with your hands firmly beneath your shoulders and knees directly under your hips.
- Take it a step further by walking forward until you feel relaxed, then spread those fingers wide while pressing both palms onto the mat.
- Start by tucking your toes and gradually lifting your hips towards the ceiling while straightening out your arms, making sure to keep those shoulders away from your ears.
- Your feet should be hip-width apart with slightly bent knees.
- Now extend that left leg upward until you have a direct line formed between head and heel; as soon as it's there, swoosh it down behind both hands while simultaneously dropping that right knee onto the ground beside them.
- Place the left knee just behind its wrist and let those left toes rest alongside the partner on the other side!
- Gradually lower your buttocks to the floor while extending your right leg behind you, putting the top of your right foot flat on the ground.
- Lift both hands off the floor so only fingertips are touching it; ensure that all three points – left toes, right hand, and extended leg – remain aligned.
- Hold this pose for a few moments while keeping an eye toward the ground between those fingertips and ensuring that the spine is elongated and the pelvis remains centered throughout.
Benefits of Pigeon Pose
The pigeon pose helps improve flexibility in the hips and their range of motion and stretches the deep glute muscles. For further benefits, scroll down:
Improves Hip Mobility
The pigeon pose helps open up the tightness in the hips, allowing for an increased range of motion. It deeply stretches the hips, glutes, and piriformis muscles, improving mobility and reducing pain from tightness in those muscle groups.
Strengthens Core Muscles
The pigeon pose can improve balance and stability by stretching and strengthening the core muscles. Additionally, it engages the core muscles while providing balance to build strength throughout the entire body.
The pose also helps open up and massage the abdominal organs, providing therapeutic benefits for those suffering from digestive or reproductive issues. You can also supplement your diet with a Whey protein supplement to increase muscle mass.
Enhances Spinal Flexibility
The pigeon pose increases the length and flexibility of the spine, relieving tension in the lower back. It can also help improve posture and overall body alignment by opening up the chest area, allowing for easier breathing.
Relieves Lower Back Pain
By gently stretching the glutes and hip flexors, the pigeon pose can help relieve tension in the lower back. It is also beneficial for those suffering from sciatic nerve pain, as it can help ease the tension in the nerves and reduce inflammation.
Calms the Mind
While holding this posture, deep breathing helps relax your central nervous system and reduces stress. This can create a calming effect on the mind and body, leading to an overall sense of inner peace.
Pigeon Pose Variations to Try Now
For the beginner level, you can try indulging in basic pigeon poses and doing the following variations to increase the intensity of the stretch and deepen the pose.
Supported Pigeon Pose
The supported pigeon pose is an effective form of stretching that can bring great physical and mental benefits. This pose, also known as centered pigeon, involves placing a prop such as a folded blanket or yoga block beneath the hips to relieve pressure on the hips and lower back.
How to Do It?
- Begin in a tabletop position on the floor, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees placed beneath your hips.
- Then, walk forward as you spread each finger and press them firmly into the mat.
- Curl up your toes and steadily raise your hips towards the ceiling - forming an inverted "V" shape while keeping both feet about hip-width apart with bent knees.
- Prolong this pose by pressing away from any tension held within those shoulder muscles!
- Starting with your left leg, push up towards the sky until you are in a straight line from head to toe.
- Then, slowly bring your lifted foot down behind both hands while lowering and placing your right knee on the floor.
- Now move so that your left knee is directly beneath and behind its wrist, as well as angling its toes just back of its corresponding wrist.
- Gradually lower your butt to the floor, extending your right leg fully and propping up the top of your right foot on the ground.
- Only let your fingertips touch the ground as you lift both hands off it, then place a yoga block underneath the left hip for extra support - ensuring that all three parts are aligned (right hand, left toes, and right leg).
- Lift off your left hand from the floor, too, before placing it gently onto its corresponding thigh; hold this position in focus with an elongated spine and centralized pelvis while gazing ahead continually.
The Mermaid Pose is a beautiful and challenging pose that activates the entire body while opening up the hips and strengthening the core. It is an excellent way to improve balance, stability, flexibility, and mental focus.
How to Do It?
- Begin in a tabletop position with your hands beneath the shoulders and knees aligned to the hips.
- Then, extend your arms slightly by walking them forward while splaying out fingers on the mat.
- Subsequently, curl your toes underneath you and gradually raise your pelvis until it points toward the roof; this will create an inverted "V" shape as you press away from shoulder ears while having hip-width feet apart but bending knee joints mildly.
- Grasping onto the ground with your hands, raise your right leg towards the sky until you're in a straight line from head to toe.
- Then swiftly swing it behind your hands and drop your left knee on the floor.
- Now place both knees behind each wrist respectively - the right near its corresponding wrist while the left toes rest just off them.
- With that same momentum, sink downwards into a seated position as you extend your left foot longingly across the ground's surface below.
- You can use either or both arms for support if necessary!
- Place one hand firmly against the front center of the shinbone, then let fingertips lightly brush with whatever flat space around them so that body weight feels evenly distributed between four points (knees/wrists and feet).
- Flex your left knee to 90 degrees, lifting your left foot towards the ceiling.
- Pivot at the trunk and reach behind you with your left hand; grasp your foot.
- With gradual movements, extend forward with your arm until the top of the toes is pressing against the inside of the wrist area — maintaining an extended spine and focused gaze in the direction of the left side throughout this pose!
Fire Log Pose
The Fire Log Pose is a seated pose that helps open up the hips, stretches and strengthens the spine, and tones the abdominal muscles. It can also be used as a meditation posture to help cultivate steadiness in both body and mind.
How to Do It?
- Find a comfortable seated position on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, arms at your sides, and fingertips resting just behind you as you lengthen through the spine.
- Draw both feet towards yourself, tucking your right foot beneath your left knee before using your right hand to lift and place the left foot atop its knee.
- Return fingertips to their original spot behind you for balance and support.
- Remain here gazing forward while keeping an upright posture from the top of the head throughout the lower body, finding stillness within this momentary pause!
The Figure-Four Stretch is a highly effective pose that can help to release tension from the hips and lower back. It is also a great way to open up tight muscles around the knees, which can be especially beneficial for active runners or athletes.
How to Do It?
- Lie on your back with both feet flat on the ground.
- Cross one ankle over your opposite knee.
- Bring your knee toward your chest. Reach your hands through your legs and interlace your fingers just below your knee.
- Using your arms, pull your knee toward your chest. Pause when you feel a stretch in your right glute and/or hip.
- Hold for desired amount of breaths before releasing and repeating on your other side.
Revolved Pigeon Pose With Thread the Needle
This pose is great for opening up the hips and stretching the spine. It also helps to soothe tension in the lower back, which can often accumulate from long periods of sitting or standing immobile.
How to Do It?
- Begin in the tabletop position on the floor/ yoga mat, with your hands firmly beneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Gently slide your hands a few inches forward as you spread out each of your fingers and press them into the mat.
- Then curl your toes underneath you while slowly lifting both hips towards the ceiling.
- Your form should resemble an inverted "V" shape; ensure plenty of space between shoulders and ears too!
- As this occurs, ensure feet are hip-width apart but slightly bent at the knee.
- With your left leg, reach for the ceiling until you form a straight line from head to heel; then gracefully bring it down behind your hands, simultaneously dropping your right knee towards the ground.
- Place both knees and toes in front of their wrists.
- Lowering down with control onto the floor, keep that right leg extended behind you as its top rests on terra firma while lifting off just enough so only fingertips touch mother earth's skin - ensure all three points are aligned: left hand & foot plus a right leg!
- Next, shift your left foot forward while stretching your right arm beneath your armpit and reduce the distance between your chest and the surface.
- Keep eye contact with your right fingertips as you place one side of your head on a yoga block.
- Hold this pose for some time by focusing on keeping both spine lengthened and the pelvis centered and aiming to be mentally and physically still.
The Easy Seat is a simple yet powerful pose that helps to facilitate spinal flexibility and release tension in the upper back and neck. It also strengthens your core muscles, helping you to maintain good posture while seated for long periods.
How to Do It?
- Start by sitting with your legs fully extended, and your spine lengthened; your arms should be at your sides, fingertips resting lightly on the ground behind.
- Next, bend both knees to bring your feet towards the body as each foot tucks under the opposite leg.
- Move outstretched hands forward until the fingertip touches the ground outside and in front of the corresponding knee before finally gazing downward between hands while keeping a long spine and centered pelvis.
- Hold this position for several breaths!
1. What does the Easy Seat pose do?
The Easy Seat pose helps facilitate spinal flexibility, release upper back and neck tension, and strengthen core muscles.
It also helps maintain good posture while seated for long periods. Additionally, it can help increase focus, calm the mind, and stretch tight muscles around the knees.
2. What are some benefits of Revolved Pigeon Pose with Thread the Needle?
Revolved Pigeon Pose with Thread the Needle is great for opening up the hips and stretching out the spine. It can also help soothe tension in the lower back that may have accumulated due to long periods of sitting or standing immobile.
Additionally, it can help open up tight muscles around the knees and increase focus.
3. Does Revolved Pigeon Pose with Thread the Needle require a yoga block?
Revolved Pigeon Pose with Thread the Needle does not require a yoga block. However, if you choose to use one, it can help deepen the stretch and provide more support for your head.
4. How long should I hold Revolved Pigeon Pose with Thread the Needle?
You should stay in this pose for at least five breaths. Depending on how comfortable you are, you can also stay in this pose longer and take deeper breaths while focusing on lengthening your spine and centering your pelvis.
Also, keep eye contact between your right fingertips as you hold this pose.
The Bottom Line
Yoga is a great way to relax, increase flexibility and build strength. The Pigeon Pose is a great way to open up the hips and release tightness in the lower body. Whether you're a beginner or more experienced, variations of this pose can be tailored to your level. Incorporating any of the above poses into your daily practice can help reduce tension in specific areas, such as the hips and lower back, while providing more general benefits like improved posture and relaxation.
You can reap all its benefits with practice, patience, and modifications. Happy practicing! If you have questions about your practice or need help getting into the pose correctly, don't hesitate to ask an experienced teacher for guidance. They'll be able to provide personalized instruction and modifications so you can get the most out of your yoga practice.
So why not take some time out of your day to try one or two of these poses? Your body will thank you!