Five variations of the Pigeon Pose to suit different levels of practice

Pigeon Pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, primarily targets the external rotators of the hips. When the time comes to settle into this healing pose, these tight and usually overworked areas breathe a sigh of relief.

The knees, ankles, and lower back often do not cooperate with Pigeon Pose, and we feel only partially stretched or worse. This causes lingering discomfort and pain that, if left unchecked, can lead to chronic injury.

Our freeĀ 30-Day Yoga Challenge will help you avoid injuries and teach you the correct technique to perform this pose. Regular practice will help you achieve a relaxed Pigeon Pose.

How can you benefit your hips from Pigeon Pose without harming the rest of your body? You can try one or all of these variations to work the same muscles from different angles.

A pigeon perched on a perch.

A block (or blanket) placed under the front leg will help align the hips and spine and not put undue stress on the joints.

Upside Down Pigeon (aka Thread the Needle Pose)

Here, you can use the resistance that you want and not rest your entire body weight on your legs. Keep the foot flexed, and press the knee of the crossed legs away from your chest to get the outer hip stretch.

Double Pigeon Pose

This seated Double Pigeon Pose, also known as Fire Log Pose, keeps your hips firmly rooted to the ground. This grounding prevents the asymmetrical shifting of the lower back, which is usually the cause of SI Joint, Lumbar Spine, or Quadratus Lumborum injury.

Standing Pigeon On Chair Pose

This hybrid variation will increase your strength and range of motion. To duplicate the pigeon stretch, stand on one leg while doing a figure-four cross with your other. Try to sit with your standing leg in a chair-like position. Repeat this pose on the opposite side to maintain balance. Continue reading because this asana is also a good preparation for the next variant!

Flying Pigeon

This upper and core body balance is also called Eka Pada Galavasana. It engages all of the same muscles as the other variations but requires an acute sense of balance. As you fly, you can maintain and continue to build your flexibility, which is why this pose has been nicknamed “The All-Purpose Pigeon.”

Please keep in mind that a variation is a way to add choice and variety to your practice and does NOT indicate that one pose is easier than another. Also, remember that even within these many options, you will learn that your body has its unique expression of each asana.

Please do not push your body beyond its limits. I wish you continued success on and off the mat.

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