There are many variations to pigeon pose, and each yoga style practices the posture a little bit differently. This version is safe for practicing at home, and effectively opens the hips as well as relieving lower back pain. If you think you might need extra support, keep a block close by.
- Start in runner's lunge, with your right foot planted between your palms and your left leg stretching toward the back of your mat.
- Inhale to open space in the spine, then exhale to stay grounded through the feet.
- Inhale deeply and slowly work your right foot over toward your left wrist. As you move your leg, try to keep your calf and thigh forming a right angle in order to protect your knee joint. Stay active through the right foot in order to keep it flat—this will also help to protect your knee.
- Gently lower your hips and legs to the mat. If you're unable to rest your hips on the mat (or if it's uncomfortable to do so), add extra support by placing a yoga block directly beneath your hips.
- Inhale and lift your chest.
- To deepen the stretch, slowly walk your hands forward to fold your chest over your bent knee. If you're able, you can come to rest on your forearms or forehead.
- Inhale and breathe deeply into the hips. If you have come to rest on the floor, stay in the pose as long as you like.
- To exit the pose, inhale and push into your hands. Walk your hands back toward your center and gently release your bent leg by raising it off of the mat.
- Repeat for the other side.
To judge how deeply you should enter the pose, listen to what your body is telling you. If breathing makes the pose feel better, challenge yourself to go a little deeper. If you feel pain or discomfort, relax to an easier version of the posture.