Ten Yoga Poses to Prepare for Flying Pigeon

Eka Pada Galavasana, or Flying Pigeon Pose, is an extremely complex posture that is not only challenging and awe-inspiring but also provides a plethora of benefits to your body and mind.

This magical pose helps to build confidence, overcome fear, and strengthen multiple muscle groups by simultaneously stretching them.

Flying Pigeon is not an easy pose to master. There are many poses you can practice to get ready. Ten essential poses are listed below to strengthen and stretch specific muscles in order to fly in Eka Pada Galavasana.

Supta Kapotasana (Reclining Thread-the-Needle)

This reclining pigeon variant opens the outer hips and is a good warm-up for the deep hip opener required in Flying Pigeon Pose. Begin by lying on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor.

Inhale and lift your foot off the ground. Flex your ankle. Bend your right leg and externally turn your hip so that you can cross your ankle right over your left, creating a figure-4 with your legs. Lift your left leg off the mat, draw your shin parallel, and interlace or hold a strap behind your left thigh.

Keep your tailbone in contact with the mat while pressing your lower back, sacrum, and knees into your chest. Take a few deep, long breaths, and then switch legs.

Gomukhasana is also known as the Cow Face Pose.

Cow Face Pose is another great way to warm up and open your outer hips. It creates a deeper opening. Begin seated, with your legs stretched out in front of you.

This posture can be made more accessible by elevating your hips on a cushion or block. Cross your right leg across your left, and bend your right knee to draw your right heel towards your left hip. You can also turn your left knee and bring your left heel to your right hip. Try to stack as many knees as you can.

You can either lengthen your spine by sitting tall or hinge your hips forward as you fold over your legs to create a deeper stretch. Take a few breaths and then switch the position of your crossed legs.

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana Modified (Pigeon Prep Pose)

 This standard pigeon variant works in the same way as its Flying Pigeon equivalent by externally rotating and opening your hip joint.

To help you achieve this, draw your knees together isometrically. You can lengthen your spine by either staying seated tall or by hinging forward on your front leg while maintaining level and squared hips.

Repeat the same stretch on the other side. Breathe in deeply and hold for as long as possible.

Eka Pada Adho Mukha Dandasana (One Legged Plank Pose)

This strengthening full-body posture prepares you for the Flying Pigeon arm balance. Starting in Down Dog, roll your weight into a high-push-up position. Align your shoulders over your wrists.

You can lengthen and expand your body by kicking back with your heels. Extend your crown forward and your heels behind you. Press the floor with your hands and activate your core. Lift your right foot and let it hover 3-6 inches over the mat as you inhale.

Hug your legs firmly into the midline. Keep your arms and core stable. Hold for a few breaths, then lift your left foot.

Core Plank Knee to Arm

This posture prepares the body to balance the arms. Start in a three-legged down dog with your right leg raised in the air. As you exhale, draw your right leg toward your upper right hand as you shift forward into a plank. Stack shoulders over wrists.

Press the floor with your hands and wrap your body around it. Draw your belly in and upwards, and keep your breath. While you inhale, your leg should be extended back upwards. As you exhale, draw your right knee towards your upper arm.

Continue to breathe slowly and deeply for three breaths before changing sides.

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)

This basic posture is the foundation of all arm-balancing positions, preparing the upper body and core to perform the necessary actions for flying.

Remember: Don’t let your head or shoulder drop below your elbow. Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle: shoulders aligned with elbows and elbows directly above your wrists. Align your shoulders with your hips and your legs to create a strong, straight line.

Navasana (Boat Pose)

 This powerful core strengthening exercise will prepare your body to lift off. Click here for step-by-step instructions to do Boat Pose.

Hold as long as possible to maintain the alignment of the body and the rhythm of the breath before releasing it and relaxing.

Bakasana is also known as the Crow Pose.

 This essential arm balance is the foundation for so many other arm-balancing poses. It prepares your body in an array of ways. Click to learn how you can do the Crow pose.

Tip: When you lift your hips high, activate your core. Squeezing your legs together, hug them into the middle. Create a C shape with your spine by rounding your back. Hollow out your stomach.

Continue to lean so far forward that your legs become lighter and lift naturally off the mat. Hug your heels towards your seat. Take 3-5 deep breaths, then slowly let go.

Eka Pada Utkatasana is a one-legged chair pose.

The Flying Pigeon Pose is a great way to prepare for lift-off in Flying Pigeon Pose.

Start in Mountain Pose with your feet hip distance apart. Sit low and bend your knees as if in a chair.

Concentrate your gaze on a single point, and then shift your weight to your left leg. Lift your right leg off the ground and flex your foot. Bend your right leg and externally turn your hip to cross your ankle across your left knee.

Keep your knees low and create space on your right outer hip. After a few deep, long breaths, switch to the other leg.

Flying Pigeon Takeoff and Preparation

After you’ve mastered the first few steps, you will be able to progress towards the full position slowly.

Start in the One-Legged chair Pose with your right foot crossed over your left leg. Start by flexing your ankle and leaning your torso to the front, reaching your arms to the floor. Spread your fingers out evenly and place your hands shoulder-width apart.

In Crow Pose, create the same foundation with your hands. Wrap your toes from your right foot around the upper left arm of your body (trying to place them in the divot on your upper arm). Slowly bend your elbows and point them straight behind you.

You can place your right foot on the shelf you create by bending your elbows. Leaning your weight forward slowly will help you counterbalance your weight. Your left leg will lift off the ground.

As you kick your leg back, lean your torso forward to compensate for the weight you are sending back. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths, then release and switch your legs.

Remember that challenging poses (like Eka Pada Galavasana) are always works-in-progress. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but with dedication, time, and commitment, you will get there. You will learn more on the way to the pose than if you were able to “just do it now.”

Flying Pigeon Pose is a great way to relax, enjoy your journey, and work towards achieving flight.

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