HOW TO: Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose is one yoga pose that I try to fit in almost every day.  If I’ve only got 5-10 minutes to practice, I’ll definitely make sure I spend some time in this pose. As a person who sits for the majority of the day in my job, I know how important it is to stretch out my hips since they don’t get much movement for long periods of time.  This pose is perfect for opening up the hips and stretching the hip flexors.  Tight hips are a major cause of low back pain and often we forget about our hips when we are trying to diagnose back pain.  The great thing about this pose is when you hold it for extended periods of time (2 minutes or more) it will begin to stretch the connective tissues around the hip joints.  As we age, or even as we sit more, the connective tissues surrounding our joints get short and inelastic.  By gently stretching the connective tissues, they will become a little longer and stronger improving the flexibility and more importantly the range of motion.  As always, it is possible to overdo this, so start small and listen to your body.  If the pose is uncomfortable, slowly get out of it.  If you are new to this pose, I recommend starting at holding it for 30 seconds to a minute maximum and then building up to holding it longer.

Instructions: 
Begin on your hands and knees in Table Top Pose

Bring your right knee forward and place it next to the inside of your right hand.

Stretch your left leg back behind you and lower it onto the mat, ensuring that the foot is directly behind the left hip.

Line your right heel up with your left hip.  Your shin does not need to be parallel with the short edge of the mat, it can be diagonal.

Press your hands into the mat and relax your shoulders away from your ears, drawing your shoulder blades back towards one another.

You can stay lifted or begin to fold forward coming onto your forearms and resting your forehead on the mat.

Benefits: 
Deeply stretches the groin, hips, and hip flexor muscles

Opens the hip rotator muscles

Improves the flexibility and mobility of the hips

May relieve pain from sciatica and low back pain

Increase circulation to the urinary, digestive and reproductive systems

Calms the mind and relieves stress.

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