I used to hate pigeon pose because my leg would go numb. I remember my teacher saying "Hold for 8 breaths". That 8 breaths would feel like ETERNITY. I always felt so antsy and I couldn't relax in the pose. After having a consistent practice for a long time, pigeon became my FAVORITE pose. Weird how things turn out that way, yeah? Because I love it so much here are all the variations of it that I like doing:
How to get into pigeon pose.
1. From downward facing dog, lift your right leg up into the air in a 3 legged dog. As you exhale bring your right knee forward towards your nose as you come forward into a plank.
2. Place your right knee behind your right wrist. Flex your right foot a lot. Try to get your right ankle behind your left wrist so that your right shin is parallel to the front of your mat -p.s. its not likely it will actually be that parallel but you get it.
3. Now, look back at your left leg, it should be coming straight out of your left hip behind you. You don't want it to be crooked. Also, check to make sure your left foot is straight, top of the left foot should be pressing into the mat, with pressure on your big toe and second toe, you will feel a stretch in your left hip here.
4. Walk your hands by your hips and stack shoulders above hips. Square your hips a lot, and flex your right foot a lot. You can place a blanket or block under your right hip if you feel you need some extra support. Option: interlace your hands behind your back and press your palms together to open up your chest.
5. Walk the hands forward in front of you. Option: take a pause when you're on your forearms. Take them into a sphinx position and pull your chest slightly forward, as your chest pulls back, shoulder blades stay on the back. Flex the right foot more. Now walk the hands more forward as far as you can comfortably go. Options: rest your forehead on the floor if it feels good to go down that far and reach your arms forward. OR rest your forehead on a block or stack fists and rest your forehead there.
6. Stay here for 8 breathes. Keep flexing your right foot but relax everything else. Think savasana. All your muscles are melting into the floor except your right foot is flexing and your right shin is pushing into the mat. Breathe and repeat on the other side.
Next post will cover half pigeon and full pigeon.