Downward-facing 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 and lengthens the
primary hip flexor (psoas muscle). As such, the posture benefits
those who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk.
The pose serves as a resting posture
after a series of standing poses or after Sun Salutation.
Downward-facing pigeon also prepares the body for seated postures
such as lotus, bound angle and fire log poses. It also prepares the
body for backbending poses like bow, camel and cobra, in addition to
the king pigeon series of poses.
As a modification for beginners
or those with limited flexibility, a blanket may be placed under
the hips and a yoga block or other bolster under the forehead, if the
head doesn't reach the ground in this pose.