The Pigeon Pose is a great hip, chest and shoulder opener. Simultaneously, it’s an amazing stretch for your legs and spine. It can prove to be challenging at first, especially for those who are less flexible, but once you’ve mastered it, Pigeon Pose becomes an enjoyable favorite. I personally always look forward to this Pose. The deep, deep stretch feels so, so good!

To execute the Pigeon Pose properly we need to be fully conscious and aware of our body. A perfect Pigeon Pose takes persistence and discipline, otherwise those “easy ways out” lead to a “Lazy Pigeon” Pose. You may not even be aware that you aren’t exactly executing it properly – it happens. (I also didn’t realize when I first began practicing Pigeon Pose that I wasn’t doing it 100% correctly.) With this guide, you’ll be fully informed, aware and able to perfect a beautiful “Proud Pigeon” Pose.

Pigeon Pose and Variations

Here is a step-by-step guide through the glorious pigeon pose and all of its variations.

  • You can begin by coming into a flat tabletop position on all fours. Always stack your joints, meaning your wrists are placed directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips.

  • Then, tuck your toes under as you look down toward your navel and push into the ground to raise yourself up into Downward-Facing Dog Pose.

  • Lift your right leg up and then bend it to bring your knee inward toward your chest. Place the top of your foot against your left wrist and your knee against your right wrist.

  • Gently lower your pelvis to the ground as you flatten the back leg. It should be pointing straight back.

  • Inhale and open your chest to bring your heart forward as you lengthen your spine upward. This is one variation and where the name comes from as it resembles a pigeon!

  • Then with an exhale, walk your hands forward and fold as far as you can. If it’s possible, gently lower your forehead onto the ground. Make sure your right leg stays bent at a 90-degree angle. Breathe and relax into the fold, bending further with each exhale. Release and breathe into any tension and relax.

  • Gently rise back up and bring your right hand to the middle of your mat as you scoop your left arm under to bring your shoulder onto the mat.

  • You can place your right hand on top of your left, or place it on your back as you squeeze your shoulder blades together and look over your right shoulder. This is another variation of the Pigeon Pose with an amazing spinal twist. Breathe and enjoy.

  • Place your hand by your face to gently raise yourself up into the first variation.

  • Bend your left leg and with the help of your hand guide it further to bring it closer to your body for a deep stretch. Don’t forget to breathe and be gentle with yourself.

  • Bend your arms, bring your hands together and interlock your fingers behind your head. Let your foot slide down into the bend of your arm. Look forward and then back at your foot for an added twist if you’d like. This is, again, a variation that resembles a proud pigeon.

  • Release your arms and look at your left foot. Grab on to it by rotating your wrist and holding on to the outer edge of your foot. Bring your arm up and around. Look forward and then tilt your head back to bring your foot and head together. Once you find balance, slowly bring your right arm up to hold your foot as well. This is the ultimate variation – a perfect, proud pigeon pose. It is known as the Royal Pigeon Pose.

Breathe and enjoy this pose as long as you’d like and then when you’re ready gently release your leg and come out of the pose just as you came into it.

Repeat this same process on the other side with your left leg to maintain the balance and harmony in your body. Use this as your 12-step program for a perfect Pigeon Pose and all of its variations. Remember to be patient, persistent and proud as you perform this pose and you will perfect it in no time!

Silvia Rodrigues

Silvia Rodrigues is a Yoga Instructor, Graphic Designer and artist who is currently completing her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Certification Course. She is a Portuguese native who was raised in Santa Cruz, California but decided to go back to her roots and is now enjoying life in the beautiful town of Cascais, Portugal. Silvia believes in keeping the body fit by staying active... Read More

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