Sunday, 30 August 2015

Make your Pigeon Pose perfect for your body

Pigeon is a great pose for opening your chest and hips and for stretching your hip flexors. Just as with Triangle Pose which we talked about last week however, you may want to tweak it to suit your body-

You can come into Pigeon Pose from all fours or from Downward Facing Dog. Bring your right knee to your right wrist and lower your hips, sliding your left leg back. Take your right foot towards the left side of the mat. If you are super flexible, you may be able to bring your shin parallel to the short edge of the mat but do not strain. Keep your shoulders over your hips and centred so you do not lean to one side and square your hips to the short edge of the mat. Tucking the toes of your back foot and pressing into your toes can help square the hips. This is also helpful if you have a tendency to get cramp in the back foot. 

For Reclined Pigeon fold over the front leg. 

Not comfortable? Try placing a cushion or a yoga block under your left thigh and another under your right buttock.

For a more advanced variation you need flexibility in the psoas and shoulders.  You also need to be able to maintain the position of your hips with the support of only one hand. Bend your left knee and turn your left foot out. Take hold of the outside of your left foot with your left hand or if you cannot reach, you could make a loop in your yoga strap and hold the strap. 

Whichever variation you choose, do not forget to repeat on the other side.

If you have low back issues you may prefer to do the reclined version of Pigeon which is Keyhole Stretch. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Bring your right foot onto your left thigh and flex your right foot to protect your knee. The closer your right foot is to your left knee, the less intense this will feel, the nearer your groin the more intense which may not be for you if you have knee issues.  This may be your pose or to go further post your right hand through the gap made by you right leg and join hands with the left hand behind your left thigh (better if you have knee issues) or in front of your left shin.

If you cannot reach use a yoga strap or dressing gown tie. Do not strain your neck. You could use a cushion or a block to support your head.

There is also a variation of this in Legs up the Wall. Bring your right foot onto your left thigh and bend your left knee to bring your left foot to the wall. Repeat second side.

If you have limited mobility, there is a variation of Pigeon Pose that you can do in a chair. Sit in a chair and bring your right foot onto your left thigh, flexing your right foot to protect your knee. You can do a 'reclined' version on the chair by folding over the front leg. Repeat second side. 

If you are pregnant, Pigeon Pose is a great way to open your hips in preparation for the birth but you need to make 'baby space' especially as the pregnancy progresses. From all fours bring your right knee to your right wrist and do not take your right foot to the left but shuffle your right leg to the right. Hold for a few breaths then repeat second side.

Tight hips? Bending the back knee may help.

Hope this helps
Happy yoga days 
Janet x

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