Five Common Misalignments of the Pigeon Pose and How to Correct Them

Pigeon Pose is a delicious hip opener. However, it can be tremendously hard to see for yourself if you have the correct alignment in any of the Pigeon pose variations. I suggest doing this pose in front of a mirror until your body has memorized how the proper hip alignment should feel.

Incorrect alignment can cause your ligaments to be stretched in a way that is unhealthy and destabilizes your hips. You could end up tweaking your lower back or sacrum or putting unnecessary strain on your knees.

Sign up for our 30-day free yoga challenge to learn more about proper alignments and poses. Click to get started. You can improve your yoga practice by identifying and correcting any misalignments you may have made.

Here are some of the most common alignment errors in Pigeon Pose, as well as quick tips to correct them.

The Bent Leg: Dumping over the Leg

It is common to think that it is necessary to lower our legs all the way to the mat when doing Pigeon. This is an ego-driven misalignment that causes more hip injuries than any other Pigeon Pose.

Your thighs don’t need to touch the floor. Your hips should both be pointing forward, like the headlights of a train. It is important to keep your weight evenly distributed on both sides in order to avoid overstressing the exterior hip ligaments.

How To Fix It: Put a block underneath the thigh on the leg that is bent if you are prone to leaning over the leg and your hips point to the opposite side.

This way of adjusting may prevent you from bringing your chest or forearms to the mat. That’s okay. You are stretching in the right way and not affecting an area that should be strong.

Thighs Lifting

Many of us are so intent on reaching our toes up to the back of our head that we lift the thigh from the bent leg. This action removes the stretch from the shoulders and spinal muscles and puts our balance at risk.

How To Fix It: Enter and exit a deep stretching like this one gradually in order to maintain your strength and prevent yourself from “pinging down” like an elastic.

Lax Ankles

In Double Pigeon and Pigeon on Your Belly, as well as in Flying Pigeon, it is very common to misalign your ankles by not flexing your foot.

How To Fix It: By flexing your feet, you can prevent your ankles from overextending. This will protect your ligaments from becoming lax and could lead to future ankle sprains and strains.

Tension in the Neck and Shoulders

In Pigeon, your neck should be relaxed and your shoulders relaxed. Your head should also be heavy. You may feel extra tension in your neck if you don’t make this small adjustment to your upper body.

How To Fix It: Use a block or bolster as a pillow if you find it difficult to rest your head on the mat. Let your neck rest from supporting the weight of your head.

Foot under the Thigh

Pigeon on the belly is about to become more comfortable with this one! We often feel that our hips are tight and we can’t get into a deep version. So, we place the foot of our bent knee on top of our thigh.

It can be a very uncomfortable situation and adds pressure.

How To Fix It: Try putting your weight on your hands and adjusting the foot so that it no longer rests against your thigh. To help you stand up, place a block either under your hands or thighs.

You now know the easiest way to use a challenging pose in your practice. Happy hips!

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