Pigeon – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Pigeon Yoga Pose - Eka Pada Rajakaposanna

Personally I like to start Pigeon Pose from Down Dog however you can start from table just as easily. For the purposes of this pose guide, lets come from table pose. Hands are under your shoulders, knees are below your hips.

  • Exhale and bring your left knee in towards your chest
  • Lower your knee behind your hands with your left foot pointed towards your right thigh
  • Extend your right leg straight back, pressing your thigh, shin and top of foot into the ground.
  • Turn to the right, looking behind you to make sure that your leg is in a straight line from your hip, down to your toes. We have a tendency to sickle our foot out when we bring the leg back, so make sure that all 5 toenails are pressing down into the mat
  • Inhale and make your side body long (lengthen thru your sides, roll the heads of those arm bones back)
  • Exhale and sink your hips lower to the ground if you can
  • Take a few breaths here and see how you feel.
  • For a deeper stretch, lower your forearms to the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart and sink your torso forward OR you can extend your arms out in front of you, and lower your head to the mat. NOTE: Pay attention to your breath, if it feels like your straining to breathe, you need to readjust where your arms are, until you’re more comfortable.
  • There are many variations of pigeon, this is the one that I typically start teaching to a new class. This gets the hips open in a big, delicious way!
  • Take 6-10 full breaths here, making sure to breathe into the areas that feel tight
  • Hint: After you complete your 6-10 breaths, curl your toes under, slide your hands back under your shoulders and inhale as you lift your hips into down dog. Pedal out your feet a bit, it will help to pamper your legs after a deep stretch like that.
  • Repeat on the right side

Upward-Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

  • Coming from four-limbed staff, hands slide back so that your forearms are perpendicular with the mat
  • Spread those fingers wide (again think starfish!)
  • Point your toes and draw your legs together muscularly
  • Lengthen the sides of your body, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears as you lift your shoulders up and away from the floor to bring the shoulder blades closer to your spine
  • Press your hands down, inhale and straighten your arms, to draw your spine into a backbend
  • Roll the heads of your arm bones back to prevent shrugging
  • Press all ten toenails into the mat, engage your thigh muscles and lift your knees off the mat so that only your hands and the tops of your feet press into the floor
  • Take 3-5 breaths

Cobra – Bhujangasana

Cobra (Bhujangasana)

  • Place your palms flat on the mat close to your lower rib cage.
  • Keep your elbows tight to your ribs
  • Point your toes back, pressing the tops of your feet into the mat
  • Roll the heads of your arm bones back to make your side body long
  • Inhale, press your hands down and lift your torso from your waist all the way up into your armpits
  • Draw the bottom tips of your shoulder blades into your back to create opening in your chest.
  • Look straight ahead with a soft gaze or keep your neck long and curl your neck up to gaze up.