Thread the Needle

Definition - What does Thread the Needle mean?

Thread the needle is a modified version of pigeon pose. It is a supine hip opener that is a great asana for beginners and for anyone with tight hips. Thread the needle pose is relatively gentle because the back is supported by the floor. It is also sometimes referred to as dead pigeon pose or sleeping pigeon pose.

To enter the pose, begin by lying on the back. Bend both legs and take the right ankle across the left knee flexing the right foot. Thread the right arm through the space between the legs (hence the name) and the left arm around the outside of the left leg. Clasp the hands behind the left thigh or around the shin. The arms then draw the legs closer to the torso, stretching the hips and glutes. Hold for a cycle of eight to 10 breaths then repeat on the opposite side.

Yogapedia explains Thread the Needle

Thread the needle is a much gentler asana than pigeon pose. It is also safer for those with hip or knee problems. Thread the needle is good for releasing tension in the hips, which can have a positive effect on the lower back and knees as well. It provides a particularly effective stretch for the piriformis muscle and can be used as a preparatory pose for pigeon pose.

Additional benefits of thread the needle pose include:

  • Hip opener
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Stretches the hips and glutes
  • Releases tension in the lower back
  • Stretches the legs and outer thighs
  • Engages the core

To intensify the stretch in this pose, mindfully press the top knee away from the body and release the pubic bone toward the floor.

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