Pigeon stretches your glutes for faster muscle recovery, releases the lower back, and improves hip mobility. This stretch is one of the most important you can do for your back and your hips, leading to better jumps, sprints, and squats, and helping your back feel great throughout the day.
Pigeon Pose Target Muscles
Pigeon Pose Benefits
- Improves lower-body strength potential
- Relieves lower-back pain
- Prevents knee, hip, and spinal injury
- Speeds up glute and hip recovery and muscle growth
How to do Pigeon Pose for Beginners
- Start on all fours with shoulders over your wrists and knees under your hips. Untuck your feet.
- Slide your left knee up to your left hand, and bring the left foot across your body to rest between your right hand and right knee. Turn the left hip outward so the inner thigh faces up, and outer thigh faces down. Extend toes of right foot back as far as possible, releasing hips toward the floor as you do so. Rest hands a few inches in front of the bent leg, using your upper body to help square the hips straight forward. Hold the posture, inhaling as you lengthen the chest forward, and exhaling as you sink the hips closer to the floor. Repeat on the other side.
- Notice how the inner thigh of the front leg faces up, and the outside of the shin touches the floor. This external hip rotation helps you increase hip flexibility by stretching the glutes more effectively.
Cues for Pigeon Pose
- Square hips and shoulders straight forward
- Keep hips square to floor
- Keep spine neutral
- Right leg is straight back, not angled out to side
- Rest on outside of leg, with inside of leg facing up
YOU SHOULD FEEL
- Stretch in hip flexors, outer hip, and glutes
- Slight engagement of inner thighs and core
- Weight centered in hips; shift hips back, or use hands to help center your weight
YOU SHOULDN’T FEEL
- Pain in front knee; if so, flex knee to bring front foot closer to groin
Pigeon Pose Pro Tip
For an added mobility element, squeeze your knees toward each other and actively engage the glutes. To increase the intensity of the stretch, bring your front shin more parallel to the top of the mat.
Pigeon Pose Modification
If the stretch is too intense or hips aren’t level, place a block under front thigh, near the groin.
About Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
Dean Pohlman is an E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and the founder of Man Flow Yoga. Dean is widely considered to be an authority on Yoga for Men. He has worked with physical therapists to create yoga programs for back health and spinal recovery. His workouts and programs have been used by professional and collegiate athletes, athletic trainers, and personal trainers; and have been recommended by physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals.
Dean is a successfully published author through DK Publishing (Yoga Fitness for Men), selling 35,000 copies worldwide in English, French, and German; in addition to being a co-producer of the Body by Yoga DVD Series, which has sold over 40,000 copies on Amazon since its release in 2016.
Man Flow Yoga has been featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine, Mens’ Health, The Chicago Sun, New York Magazine, and many more major news media outlets.