Don’t be flighty, come practice our Pose of the Week – one legged king pigeon pose!
What does King Pigeon pose do? Well it might be better to ask what it doesn’t do! Here we can stretch our inner and outer thighs, our front and outer hips including the psoas. In the full pose it also stretches the abdomen, chest and shoulders. It’s great to teach yourself core strength here to protect your lower back and helps to stimulate abdominal organs. And on top of all of that it can open our chest.
There are lots of different variations of this pose, so stick with the one that doesn’t hurt anywhere but does provide a challenge.
If you suffer from any sacroiliac, knee, hip or ankle injuries practice this with the utmost caution! If this pose causes any pain to come back to previous injuries etc. best to skip it until you’re fully healed.
It’s important to warm up before king pigeon pose. Click on the links below for instructions for each pose listed
Step by step guide
Start in down dog with the knees and elbows off of lock, the hips extended upwards and the right leg lifted up behind. Bring your right knee forwards to in between your arms and let your knee land in the gap between your hands, closer to the right hand. Depending on how flexible you feel, your right foot can either land parallel with the knee (close to the left hand) or tucked closer in towards your groin. Land your left knee behind.
If your right hip is elevated from the floor and either doesn’t land down or you can only land on the outside of your right thigh, then place a block or a brick underneath the right hip. This will level out the hips which is important for this pose, and safer. The left leg lengthens behind with the leg in line with your sit bone and the inner thigh rolls slightly upwards.
With both hands either side of your right knee, inhale to lengthen through the crown of the head and draw up with your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles for support for your lower back. As you exhale slowly lower your torso to your right thigh and walk your hands forward. Either stay on your elbows or lower all the way to the floor. Both examples are shown in this guide.
Stay here for 6 or so breaths. This might be enough. If it is, skip to step 7 below for how to come out of the pose.
If you’d like to take it further inhale to lift your chest and bring your hands back to your shin. Lengthen your lower back by sending your tailbone forward to your pubic bone and lifting your pubic bone up towards your belly button. Draw your left hip forwards towards your right foot to level out the hips. If you can maintain this effort in your pelvic support, then keep your right hand on the floor next to your right thigh while you bend your left leg and take a hold of your left ankle with your left hand. Stay here for 5 or 6 breaths, if this is enough, go to step seven to come out of the pose and practice the other side.
If you’re feeling great. And if your chest and shoulders feel like they can open and your lower back can still stay safe and supported, then you can try the next step. Keep that support with your pelvic base whilst you wrap your left elbow around your left foot. Reach your right arm overhead and bend it behind your neck and see if the hands can clasp together. It’s important to stay supported here all along your spine, so make sure your pelvic floor is active and your abdominal muscles are working well and engaged inwards. Roll your right shoulder downwards and keep your right bicep close to your ear. The head should sit comfortably on top of the spine, if it’s tilted in any way, then come out of this arm bind.
To come out of this, wherever you have gotten to, carefully bring your hands either side of your front knee. Bring weight into your hands and start to walk the left leg forwards nice and slowly. When you have enough space, lift the right leg behind so that you can come back to downward facing dog. Walk the hips here and see how different one side can feel to another after this big stretch. Then repeat on the other side.