Benefits Of The Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose can be a lifesaver for anyone who spends a lot of time in a seated position at a desk every day. It's a posture that works to open the hips and increase the femur bone rotation at the socket of the hip. It's also highly effective for protecting the knees and lower back, two of the most common areas on the body that can make mobility a challenge. Incorporating Pigeon Pose into your practice is an excellent way to open the hips, reduce pain, and give you the flexibility needed for taking on more challenging poses.

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What Is The Pigeon Pose?

Pigeon Pose is a hip-opening posture in which one leg is bent in front of you, your other leg is pointed straight back, and your hips are square to the front of your mat. You should feel a stretch in your hips and no pain in your knees. The pose is a variant of Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, One-Legged King Pigeon pose.

The modern-day pose that "Pigeon Pose" refers to is a less-complicated version of the One-Legged King Pigeon pose and does not include a backbend. Instead, it is utilized as a hip-opener. It is often performed incorrectly, which can be dangerous, so learning the proper alignment in the pose is key. You must be cognizant of keeping your hips square and your rear leg in a neutral (non-rotated) position. If your front leg's thigh is floating, you can sit on a bolster or block in order to maintain alignment.

What Are The Benefits Of The Pigeon Pose?

You may want to learn how to do Pigeon Pose for the many benefits it offers the body and mind. The Pigeon yoga pose offers the following advantages:

Opens The Hip Joint

The hip is a joint that uses a ball and socket structure where rotation is essential. The Pigeon Pose allows you to give this joint a good workout and contributes to healthy flexion and extension of the knee and the hip.

Reduces Back Pain

When your hip flexors are too tight, that can negatively impact your lower back. When the hip flexors are more open and loose, you won't arch your back more than is necessary.

Provides Stress Relief

When we feel stress or trauma, we tend to carry those feelings in our hips, making them tight and rigid. It leads to pain, poor posture, and increased worry and anxiety. Pigeon Pose can alleviate all of that stress and strain on the body and mind.

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What Does the Pigeon Pose Stretch?

Pigeon stretch poses are ideal for releasing stress by stretching the hip rotators at the buttocks region and the hip flexors located around the pelvis and front thighs. When you stretch these areas, you are promoting healthy flexibility in the hips.

Is Pigeon Pose Bad For The Hips?

The pigeon pose can be bad for your hips if you do it with the wrong alignment or have a pre-existing injury. There are safer hip opener alternatives for those with joint sensitivities and injuries (Supta Ardha Padmasana or Supine Half Lotus for example).
The pigeon pose can over-stretch your ligaments in an unhealthy way and therefore destabilize your hips. It could cause you to tweak your lower back or sacrum and put a lot of unnecessary stress on your knees.
If you experience issues with your joints or have had an injury or hip surgery, you should not do pigeon pose as you may experience:

Increased pressure on the knee joint 
Undue force placed on the sacroiliac joint 
Erosion of the hip socket's labrum as well as the cartilage at the top of the femur bone. 
Potential for injury from misalignment


What Are Some Variations Of The Pigeon Pose?

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Standing Pigeon

This variation of Pigeon is done in a standing position and is not too challenging, so even beginners should be able to do it. The pose helps to increase balance and strength and benefits the feet, knees, and ankles. 

Double Pigeon

This version of the pose is done from a seated position in which the legs are folded and placed one on top of the other. This helps you to deeply stretch the groin and both hips at the same time while stretching the glutes and lower back as well. 

One-Legged King Pigeon

The much more advanced version of the Pigeon Pose, one that requires precise alignment of the hips and the front leg in rotation. This pose benefits all of those areas that the Pigeon Pose is well-known for, including the hips, lower back, and knees. 

Flying Pigeon

Trying this variant of the pose requires some major strength in the upper body and the core. It helps to open the hips and benefits the shoulders, wrists, arms, and legs. Flying Pigeon also gives you better balance, and it can even help with digestion.

Half Pigeon

This seated backbend is good for stretching the thighs, psoas, groin, core, chest, neck, and shoulders. The purpose of the pose is to open the hips, the shoulders, and the chest. It's also suitable for giving the abdominal organs healthy stimulation. 

Supine Pigeon

The Supine Pigeon is good for loosening the hips but what makes the posture particularly beneficial is for anyone suffering from sciatica. The pose is done lying on the back with the legs and feet lifted off the ground.

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How To Start Practicing The Pigeon Pose

The many variations of Pigeon Pose are suitable for all skill levels. But you can still injure yourself if you do it incorrectly. So ease into it by trying the easier versions first, focus on opening the hips slowly and safely. When the hips are open and flexible, the Pigeon Pose will bring you more significant advantages. But choose the variations carefully and start simple.

Bonus Tips

As we said, it's good to ease your way into Pigeon Pose slowly. But before you even attempt your first variation of the posture, give your hips a mobility test to see how well they rotate and determine if you're facing a more formidable challenge than you might expect. Lie down on your back and bend the legs to ascertain their ability to rotate internally and externally.

Why Should You Try Yoga

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No matter what type of yoga decides to practice, that style can bring calm and balance to the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga can also strengthen the body, relax the mind, and feed the soul. Many people practice yoga to reconnect with themselves; others do it for the low-impact workout it can provide.

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Closing Thoughts

The Pigeon Pose offers a multitude of benefits and advantages. Your ability to perform these poses may not come easy, and you might not have the strength or range of motion at first. But remember, this posture is not unlike so many others in that you can only achieve your goals through consistent, routine practice. Beginners should keep this in mind and never be discouraged. Even those with more advanced skill sets should slowly take this process (just think how much work it took to do a handstand without the need for using a wall to steady your balance). You'll get there.

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