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I’m a Yoga Teacher With an Unpopular Opinion: Pigeon Pose Sucks. Try These Hip-Openers Instead

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Some yogis say they love pigeon pose. The remainder of us? We grit our tooth and white-knuckle it via the extreme hip stretch.

Leaning over our entrance bent leg, pigeon pose is a form that may be uncomfortable and probably dangerous. For some folks, this place is simply too intense on the connective tissues of their hips—and pushing it too far may even trigger long-term ache. In case you have knee points, additionally ache. In case you are hyper-flexible and also you’re instructed to “calm down, calm down, calm down,” then there’s a excessive chance of, you guessed it, ache.

However nobody ever mentioned yoga was about pushing via ache. If pigeon pose doesn’t work to your physique, attempt these different hip openers that, in my expertise as a yoga instructor, I’ve discovered to be much more body-friendly.

4 pigeon pose options that stretch your hips pain-free

Reclined determine 4

This common different is a mild, controllable stretch that reaches the identical muscle teams as pigeon pose with out added strain on the knee.

Learn how to do it: 

  1. Lay in your again with each knees bent and your toes on the ground.
  2. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee and pause. For some folks, this can already be sufficient of a stretch.
  3. In order for you extra sensation, you possibly can attain between your legs to seize across the backside leg. You may press your elbow into your crossed leg to encourage your knee away. You’ll know you’re at an excellent stage of stretch in case you can hold your shoulders on the bottom, breathe regular, and you are feeling a stretch.
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For extra assist, you possibly can lean the underside foot on the wall as an alternative of holding the leg up together with your palms (or a strap).

Fireplace log pose

This form focuses on the perimeters and again of the hips. It may be very intense so take it slowly and don’t push if it’s an excessive amount of.

Learn how to do it:

  1. Sit up tall in a cross legged place.
  2. Take one ankle and stack it over the alternative knee in order that the 2 shins are stacked on prime of one another. Root down via each hips and sit tall. Flex via each toes.
  3. Choice to fold ahead.

The ankle joint and the knee joint it’s sitting on ought to be precisely on prime of one another—a useful picture is a door hinge. You may think about a pin going straight via each joints.

For extra assist, add a block between the underside knee and the ground or the highest knee and backside foot (or each).

Cow face pose

This pose reaches the IT band, piriformis, and gluteus medius (and minimus)—that are hip stabilizers and due to this fact normally tight—whereas additionally being extra light in your knees than pigeon pose.

Learn how to do it:

  1. Begin seated, and cross one leg over the opposite so your knees are stacked.
  2. Draw your ankles near your hips.
  3. Give attention to rooting down evenly via each hips.
  4. For extra depth, you possibly can work each ankles ahead, bringing your shins consistent with the highest of your mat.
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For extra assist, sit on a blanket to maintain each hips stage and grounded.

Twisted lizard

This selection has no exterior rotation/transverse movement within the knee so it is a good choice for folk with knee instability or ache whereas nonetheless getting the same stretch to pigeon pose.

Learn how to do it:

  1. From palms and knees, the 1st step foot exterior each palms and gently lean hips ahead.
  2. Flip the entrance toes out at a forty five diploma angle, and place that hand on the interior thigh to encourage that knee away from the physique.
  3. Gaze over that shoulder.
  4. Possibility so as to add a quadricep stretch by bending the again leg and reaching for that foot.

So as to add assist, place a blanket below your again knee and/or go for a strap to achieve to your again foot in case you’re exploring the quadricep stretch.

Pigeon pose is intense. Intense isn’t at all times a foul factor. For those who aren’t experiencing long-term ache or discomfort in your hips and/or knees, then pigeon pose could also be useful for you.

Nevertheless, in case you’re experiencing discomfort, or are simply curious to vary up your hip-openers and discover extra accessible yoga, these postures will assist you stretch your hips safely and successfully.

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