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Asana Analysis Five Safe Hip Openers Private Yoga Santa Monica Brentwood Pacific Palisades Bel Air Venice

Published on September 28th, 2015 | by Catherine Tingey

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PIGEON (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

PIGEON

Oh the pigeon poses – single, double and reclined. I’m hesitant to elaborate much on the benefits of the pigeon family because I think there is so much risk for injury in these deep hip openers. It’s a dirty little secret in the yoga world that some yoga luminaries, practicing since the 70s, have had hip replacements, and I believe excessive and unsafe hip opening is a contributing factor to ongoing hip, pelvic and SI joint instability.

That said, pigeon pose is ubiquitous in vinyasa classes, sometimes inserted early into a class (which I strongly disagree with), so it’s a good pose to learn, and to learn safely.

ALIGNMENT

In PLANK pose, step the right leg up, bend the knee generously so foot is near the groin, and relax top of the left foot on the floor.

If this is TOO MUCH, insert a block  or 2 blankets under the right upper thigh where glute meets leg. An entire bolster can be placed lengthwise underneath the right leg.

STOP THERE

If you want more:

Angle the right knee so the shin is parallel to the top of your mat.

Further still: Lift through the crown of the head, relax the shoulders, reach with your heart and fold forward.

COMING OUT OF THE POSE

Slowly lift the chest and unwind the leg. DOWN DOG followed by 3 LEGGED DOG are nice counter-poses.


Private Yoga Instructor Catherine Tingey Los Angeles Santa Monica Brentwood Pacific Palisades

BENEFITS

  • opens the hips and groins
  • can release the piriformis muscle
  • can release stored trauma and tension in the body

SAFETY

If you have any of the below issues, I strongly recommend avoiding the entire Pigeon family. There are so many other great ways to open the hips (low lunges, CRESCENT, WARRIOR I & II), that one needn’t risk aggravating a pre-existing condition.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • SI joint instability
  • Knee injuries

 

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Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher after practicing for 24 years.

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About the Author

Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher after practicing for 24 years.



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