Pigeon prep is awesome, right? I know! I think it’s one of the best hip openers out there, while at the same time it’s a comforting pose because one leg is drawn into the body and the front torso and heart are closed off and protected. It really nails that one spot on the back and side of the upper hamstring and outside hip and buttock, and opens up the hip joint.
Like all things yoga, not every asana works the same on every body. So here’s a few variations on Pigeon Prep, for when you want to really work all the angles. Be careful on your knees – if you feel any pain at all in your knees back off and try a different pose.
(1) pigeon prep; (2) fire log pose; (3) Sucirandhrasana / eye of the needle; and (4) standing pigeon (ardha baddha padmottanasana variation). Stay in each pose from one to five minutes, then switch sides. The foot on the working leg (the one getting stretched) should always be flexed in pigeon poses – ankle at 90º to the shin, toes pulled up toward the knee. In eye of the needle, slowly (over time) work the foot that’s high on the wall lower toward the floor.
Always warm up first, maybe do 5 Sun Salutation A’s and B’s and some gentle hip and hamstring opening poses like Warrior II, and low/high lunges.
I give private yoga instruction, so if you’d like to work on pigeon prep variations in more detail, or improve your at-home or at-work practice, email me or give me a call at (312) 671-6453.