Humans have been blessed with a highly self-aware nature, a characteristic that makes itself apparent even from a very young age. One proof of this is the way small children (and in some cases, even babies) are able to recognize themselves when they are shown their reflection in a mirror.
This kind of self-awareness is not present in most other species. However, scientific tests that were run under strict monitoring conditions have established that it is possible to develop self-awareness among certain animals through training. Pigeons are included in this group.
In Hatha Yoga, we have the Pigeon Pose, which is derived from the One Legged King Pigeon Pose, a relatively difficult pose to perform, which is why practitioners have made a more basic pose adjusted for beginners, thus the Pigeon Pose was born.
The One Legged King Pigeon Pose in Sanskrit is Eka Pada Rajakapotasan (eka = one, pada = leg or foot, raja = king, kapota = pigeon, and asana = pose)
Qualities of the Pigeon Pose
The Pigeon Pose, a hip opener, also targets multiple areas of the body including the back, the legs and the hips to attain flexibility. Hip openers can be very rewarding for beginners as they help you regain hip flexibility that had been lost due to stress and prolonged hours of sitting.
Demonstration of the Pigeon Pose
Benefits of the Pigeon Pose
- Mental – increased intellectual acuity is one of the expected benefits that come with regularly practicing this pose, because of the high degree of focus required to maintain the position.
- Physical – this pose can develop improve or regain hip and thigh flexibility, an increase in hip flexors, and, effectively stretch the back in preparation for other back bending postures. Modified versions of the pigeon pose can help build chest and shoulder flexibility. The pose may also relieve back pain.
- Spiritual – this pose is believed to highlight the cultivation of self-assurance and self-awareness.
The Pigeon Pose is only one of the many Hatha Yoga poses that have meanings stemming from animals and the rest of nature. Once you are successfully able to execute the pigeon pose, you are well on your way to doing other challenging yoga poses.
Try, perform and succeed. The more poses that you are able to execute properly, the more confident and relaxed you will be as you go on with your yoga fitness routines. Remember that each person is different from one another; you can modify the poses that you find difficult and adjust them to your level of comfort, provided that you keep to the basic demonstration for doing the pose.
Performing hip openers like you do in this pose can be tricky and if you’re not careful, can cause injuries and muscle tears such as:
- Muscle tearing
- Sacroiliac issues
- Knee injury
To demonstration videos can help you understand how the pose is done but only you, with your doctors approval, can know what your personal limitations are. You will want to achieve and maintain proper form while performing the Pigeon Pose.
It’s a good idea to have experience with some of the simpler postures found on the Hatha Yoga video set. You get those by subscribing to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter. Next, we’ll explore doing the “Bridge Pose” and cross beyond those self imposed boundaries.