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Video:How to Maximize Pigeon Pose

with Paula Tursi

Pigeon pose allows you to open and stretch your hips in a very satisfying way. Learn how to move into pigeon pose properly, and watch how to do an easy modification of the pose.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Maximize Pigeon Pose

Hi, I am Paula Tursi, the Director of Reflections Yoga, here today for About.com. Today, we will be doing Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, or simply, pigeon pose. This is a wonderful deep hip-opening pose, and it is a great way to alleviate sciatica.

Supplies Needed for Pigeon Pose

I will be showing you a few ways to do this pose, so you will be needing a mat and a blanket.

The Body in Pigeon Pose

So I would like to talk with you a little bit about the pelvic halves. Our pelvis, we think about it a lot as a base and one solid bone, and in that understanding, we can move our hips in a pelvic tilt. So both bones are moving exactly the same way. But the pelvis has another option. We can also move it in a countering relationship, as in walking. So one pelvic half is forward and one is back, and then vice versa. Oftentimes when we are walking we do not do that, we keep the hips moving as if they are one solid bone, and this is what creates sciatica.

Move Into Pigeon Pose

So we are going to take pigeon pose with a bit of a support, a blanket. And we are going to show you two ways to come into the pose. So we can start from a Downward Dog, this is the more difficult version, and he will take his leg up toward the sky -- again, moving those pelvic halves separately -- and then swing the leg up and over the blanket. The blanket is here for support and if your hips are tight, you can add two or three blankets, as many as you need, so that you can actually relax into them.

Pigeon Pose Modification

The second version is a little easier, a modification of the first, where we just take that leg forward and over the blanket. Essentially, we want to get opening through the pelvic halves -- we want them to open separately.

So he is going to curl his back toes under and stretch this leg back a bit. That is going to help drop his left side a little closer to the blanket. But it also puts him on an angle, so the next thing he is going to do is take this pelvic half slightly forward to even out the pelvis. And then from there, his hips are set and he can stretch all the way forward and enjoy a great opening in his hips and a beautiful release in any discomfort he is feeling on this side of his body. Of course, we have to do both sides.

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