You may not think you can work a full practice around one pose – but Pigeon Pose is extremely versatile with all its variations.
This pose in itself is a great way to increase flexibility. These poses are great for a deep stretch, particularly in the hips, with all of the external rotation.
No props needed, just roll out your mat and try these 7 variations.
1. Reclined Pigeon – Lay down on your back, bending the knees and bringing the soles to the mat. Cross the right ankle over the left knee. Flex the right foot and push the knee away. Reach through with your arms to pull the left knee in. Keep your head and shoulders down. Release, and repeat on the other side.
2. Seated Pigeon – Come to a seat, with the hands down behind you. Cross the right ankle over the left knee. Control the depth of the stretch by how close you bring the left knee in. Push your heart forward, lengthening the spine. Maybe rocking side to side. Uncross and repeat on the other side.
3. Dragon with External Hip Rotation – Come to table top, with knees under hips and hands under shoulders. Step the right foot to the outer edge of the right hand. Melt the hips down and forward. Flex the right foot and roll on to the outer edge of the right foot. After a hold here, draw the knee back to the midline, step back. Repeat on the other side.
4. Standing Pigeon – Step up to the top of your mat. Draw the left knee up, standing on the right foot. Cross the left ankle over the right knee. Bend into the standing leg, send the hips back. Extend the chest forward. Work on balance standing up here. Or work on deepening the flexibility by bringing the fingertips down and folding. Switch and repeat on other side.
5. Sleeping Pigeon – Return to table top. Bring the right knee behind the right wrist. Stretch the left leg back behind you. Keep the pelvis level. Fold down. Stacking the fists or palms and resting the forehead down. Melt here for at least 5 breaths.
6. Mermaid – Push the fingers into the floor to lift back up. Bend the back knee. Reach the left hand back. Nuzzle the foot in the elbow crease. Reach the right hand back to interlace the fingers.
7. Double Pigeon – Roll onto the right hip. Bring the left leg out in front. Stacking the left shin on top of the right one. Bring the left ankle on top of the right knee, left knee on the right ankle. Stay lifted or take a twist. Rotating towards the right, hooking the left elbow to the sole of the left foot. Press the hands together.
Repeat 5 through 7 on the other side.