Yoga Pose of the Month- November 2012
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana- Pigeon Pose
If tight hips limit your high stepping, pigeon pose is a perfect addition to your climbing routine and yoga practice. Pigeon pose stretches and lengthens the deep muscles of the hips and hip flexors. A deep hip opener such as Pigeon Pose may feel intense, so make sure that the body is warmed up before moving into this pose. There are plenty of variations of Pigeon Pose for the beginner to advanced student. Take it step by step and with patience, Pigeon Pose may just become a welcoming and inviting place.
Beginning in Downward Facing Dog, draw the right knee towards the nose. Place the right knee by the right elbow and place the outside of the right leg down on the mat, keeping the knee bent. Move your left leg further back so that it is straight behind you with your left heel in line with your left hip. Take a moment to set the pose up before moving any deeper. If you're not able to rest the right sit bone down on the mat, place a block under the right sit bone. This will allow you to relax further into the pose.
Externally rotate your right knee outward so that it is beyond the line of the right hip. This will help to draw the left hip point closer to the mat to square the hips. Keep the right foot flexed to protect the knee. Once you're set up, feel free to fold forward only if it deepens the stretch. Breathe deeply and direct your breath to any areas that feel tight.
If you'd like to take full Pigeon Pose, you'll stay upright, bend the left knee and reach the left arm back to cradle the left foot in the elbow crease. You can also take this into a bind by reaching the right arm next to the right ear to interlace the right and left fingers. This will create a stretch for the left quadricep.