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Pigeon Pose (kapotasana)

Warm-up posture that opens and increases the flexibility of your hips.
 

Pigeon Pose (or kapotasana) helps to open and increase the flexibility of your hips. This pose also helps to strengthen your back, stretch your thighs and increase the flexibility of your groin.
 
Practicing this pose may help you perform other poses that require a lot of flexibility in your hips, such as Lotus Pose and Dancer Pose. You may also want to use Pigeon Pose to warm up before performing back bends, such as Cobra Pose and Bow Pose.
 
As you perform Pigeon Pose, make sure you gently press the hip of your straight leg toward the floor to help keep your hips square to the front. Hold the pose for as long as you feel comfortable, allowing yourself to relax further into the pose with each exhalation.
 
After performing the pose, you should shake out your legs to help relieve and restore circulation in your legs.
 
You should use caution performing Pigeon Pose if you have problems with your knees, back or hips.
 
Steps:
Begin in Table Pose.
Slide your right knee forward, under the center of your body.
Bring your right foot to the left side of your body.
(You can rest your right foot underneath your pubic bone or out to your left side.)
Slide your left leg straight behind you. The top of your left foot should rest on the floor
Gently lower your pelvis toward the floor.
(Make sure you keep both hips square to the front.)
(If your right hip cannot reach the floor, you can place a folded blanket under your hip for support.)
Slide your hands forward along the floor and lower your elbows to the floor
Continue sliding your hands until your arms are straight, but your elbows are not locked.
Exhale as you lower your chest toward the floor.
Rest your forehead on the floor
Gently press your left hip toward the floor to help keep your hips square.
Hold the pose for 15 seconds to 1 minute.
(To come out of the pose, slide your hands back under your shoulders and return to Table Pose.)
Repeat steps 2 to 11 for your other side
 
My forehead is uncomfortable in this pose. What can I do?
If you find resting your forehead on the floor uncomfortable, you can bend your elbows and place one hand on top of the other. Then rest your forehead on your hands.
 
How can I modify Pigeon Pose to help release tension in my hips?
To help release tension in your hips, you can rock your hips from side to side as you hold the pose.
 
How can I make this pose more challenging?
To make Pigeon Pose more challenging, perform the pose as described above, except when you lower your elbows to the floor, position your elbows directly above your shoulders, press your forearms into the floor and lift your chest toward the ceiling. As you become more comfortable in this position, you can gradually straighten your arms and move your hands closer to your body to lift your chest up further.
 
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