Supported Pigeon Pose

Definition - What does Supported Pigeon Pose mean?

Supported pigeon pose is an intermediate hip opener that prepares the body for the more advanced king pigeon pose and other postures that require flexibility in the hips and back.

This pose is a half split with one leg stretched back so the top of the foot presses into the mat and the other leg is bent in front with the calf resting on the ground. The torso remains erect and the hands are placed on the ground for support.

Supported pigeon pose is also known by its Sanskrit name, salamba kapotasana.

Yogapedia explains Supported Pigeon Pose

In supported pigeon pose, the back arches slightly and the gaze is toward the sky, but yogis with neck problems may keep the gaze forward. For a less challenging version, place the hands forward of the lead leg to ease the stretch of the hips and back. To prepare for supported pigeon, or as a resting posture after the pose, practice downward-facing pigeon, in which the torso folds over the front leg.

Supported pigeon stretches the muscles around the knees and is especially effective for opening the hips because – unlike many hip-opening poses – it increases both the external rotation of the femur in the hip (forward leg) and lengthens the primary hip flexor (outstretched leg). As such, the posture benefits those who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. The pose also stretches the glutes, particularly the gluteus maximus, and improves posture.

As a modification for beginners or those with limited flexibility, a blanket may be placed under the hips and yoga blocks may be used to support the hands.

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