Yoga Stretches Can Help Lower Back Pain

Doing yoga stretches can be a blessing for lower back pain sufferers.

Can Yoga Help Your Lower Back Pain?

The American Heart Association says that most people will suffer some form of lower back pain in their life. And if you have this debilitating affliction, you know how limiting it can be. Aside from improving heart health, helping you lose weight and drastically increasing brainwave function and recall, proper yoga practice can actually reduce lower back pain.

But there are a few yoga poses and positions that do a better job at this than others. Practice the following yoga poses in your routine every week, and benefit from less lower back pain as a result but be sure that you have proper clearance from your doctor and be certain that you are doing the poses correctly. A good yoga instructor can help you with this.

Whether sitting at your computer on the job for hour after hour, or bent over in your backyard garden, your daily activities can lead to lower back pain. One pair of yoga poses that works so well together for reducing back pain is the Cat/Cow combo.

By moving back and forth between these two postures, you begin to warm up as well as stretch your back muscles. These include the muscles in your lower back. Look to your yoga trainer or coach for proper form and function, or turn to the many yoga courses and programs offered on the Internet for convenient use in your home at your leisure.

One of the yoga positions well known for strengthening your lower back muscles is the Chair pose. A quick word of warning… If you are new to yoga take it easy with this particular mode. Mimicking the natural human body movement when you sit in a chair, you hold this pose for 10 deep breaths.

As you squat this focuses attention on your lower back muscles, and over time can condition your body with such strong muscles in that region that you not only can treat lower back pain, but you greatly reduce your risk of contracting it in the first place.

While Downward Dog may sound like a depressed canine, it is actually an excellent yoga pose for supporting all of your back muscles. This wonderful position also helps improve your overall body posture, and even engages your abdominal muscles. The longer you are able to hold this pose in a comfortable manner the better and more beneficial it is to your lower back.

Spinal Twist sounds like a great name for a rock band, but is actually a great pose for overworked back muscles. Beginners are recommended to take this slowly, as over-twisting can aggravate and accelerate back pain.

With the Spinal Twist pose you are looking to stretch gently. If you begin to feel pain of any kind, back off and move to a more comfortable position. The Standing Forward Bend is a beneficial exercise in many ways. It also effectively uses gravity to more gently and comfortably stretch your lower back after positions like the Chair pose.

With your arms raised above your head, swan dive forward on your next inhale and bend at your waist. Practicing this yoga pose will eventually allow you to touch the floor, and this is one of many simple to perform but helpful yoga positions which can help you reduce back pain.

How to Prevent Yoga Injuries

Here are five ways to help prevent yoga injuries.

5 Tips to Help Prevent Yoga Injuries

Many people having never done yoga tend to think “How hard can it be to do a bunch of stretching exercises?” In reality, yoga is a sport, and like in any sport, injuries can occur. These 5 tips will help you to better prevent yoga injuries during your routine:

1) Do it Right

If you are just starting yoga, join a class so you can learn how to do the poses the correct way. Once you know how, then you can do a yoga routine off of a DVD or a YouTube video. Because many of the poses rely on balance and technique, if done wrong, injuries can occur.

2) Warm Up to Help Prevent Yoga Injuries

Doing yoga involves stretching muscles to increase flexibility. However, if you try doing many of the poses with cold muscles, you run the risk of a tear or pull. Almost every yoga routine is done in a sequence. A part of that sequence is moves or poses that warm-up the muscles in preparation for more strenuous postures. If at home, warm-up by walking in place or do a few sun salutation poses to get stretched out.

3) Prevent Yoga Injuries by Listening to Your Body

Yoga should be challenging, otherwise you would not get much out of it, however, it should not hurt. If when doing a pose you feel a twinge or pain, stop and rest. Once when ready, slowly try the pose again. If it still hurts, then try using a prop with that pose. If that did not help, then you may want to eliminate or substitute a similar pose that does not hurt in its place.

4) Focus on Yourself

The only one that matters in a yoga class is you. However, if you are focused on trying to keep up with your classmate to the side or in front of you, you run the risk on injuring yourself because the focus was not on you. Yoga is non-competitive, so keep your focus on doing the pose correctly or at least doing the best you can and don’t worry how some else is doing it. With the focus on you, you’ll notice when a pose doesn’t feel right and you can stop before suffering an injury. See how yoga poses are done correctly here:

5) Bring Your Own Yoga Mat and Props

This last tip is not about injury as much as it is about disease and illnesses. Because many people may use the same studio mat and props within a single day, let alone in a week, the cleanliness of the items could be in question.

To prevent yourself from picking up something as simple as athlete’s foot, or more dangerous such as a virus, bring your own mat and props. That way you know when (and how) they were last cleaned. Besides, it is nice to have your own equipment and it is not that expensive to buy.

By using these 5 tips when doing yoga, you reduce the risk of getting hurt or sick. Now get out there and have fun!

Sun Salutation to Corpse Pose in Yoga

Start your yoga routine with the Sun Salutation and end with the Corpse Pose.

Guide to the Yoga Sun Salutation and Corpse Pose

Surya Namaskara, the original Sun Salutation name, is one of the most popular yoga styles in the Western world. It derives its popularity from the flexibility of its three routines – A, B and C – which can range from poses suitable for a beginner to the more advanced.

Due to the simplicity of the Sun Salutation postures, called asanas, many people use this style of yoga when learning the breathing routines of Hatha, while many instructors use some Sun Salutation Poses as a warm-up to other yoga routines.

Differences Between the Sun Salutation Routines

Many of the poses are the same in each of the Sun Salutations routines. Here are the poses included in Sun A:

  • Standing Mountain Pose
  • Upward Salute
  • Standing Forward Fold
  • Half Standing Forward Fold
  • Four-Limbed Staff Pose
  • Upward-Facing Dog Pose
  • Downward-Facing Dog Pose
  • Half Standing Forward Fold
  • Standing Forward Fold
  • Mountain Pose

Sun B however generally substitutes the Warrior and Chair poses for the Upward Salute, whereas Sun C includes the Plank, Lunge and Cobra postures in its routine instead of the Four-Limbed Staff Pose.

Each of the routines are laid out in a sequence that allows the student to move from one pose to the next with minimal movement or lost time. Breathe in on the portion of the pose involving a stretch or extend; breathe out on the portion where you bend or contract.

Back to the Basics

In its basic form, its poses concentrate on stretching the whole body along with deep breathing to warm up core muscles. Warmed muscles are more pliable and flexible, thus reacting better to the moves within the postures. This also reduces the risk of injuring a muscle by stretching further than you could if not warmed. And because each pose can be done in a variety of ways, advanced students can do variations of a pose for more stretching and strength building or even a different routine.

Since the normal Sun Salutation poses are very basic, they are a great routine to do by themselves or to incorporate more advanced poses into them. For example, the Triangle Pose can be added to the Lunge to expand the flexibility of the hips, shoulders and abdominal core. The more advanced Standing Splits pose can follow the Mountain pose for an even deeper workout.

Unlike many other types of yoga, Sun Salutation can be practiced every day. Do one of the Sun routines daily and soon you’ll notice a difference both mentally and physically.

A Guide to the Yoga Corpse Pose

The Corpse Pose is usually the final pose in a yoga class. Also known as the Final Relaxation Pose, its purpose is to take you deep inside yourself through total relaxation and concentration. Because this pose is more mental than physical, it is often the hardest pose for beginner yogis to achieve.

In this pose, you lie completely still and concentrate on the awareness of your deepest and innermost state of consciousness, thus releasing the emotions and ideas that unconsciously guide your life – sometimes down the wrong path. It is here in this state that you find your true self.

Corpse Pose Benefits

Besides the physical benefits of the Corpse Pose, such as a decrease in heart rate, muscle tension and metabolic rate; lower blood pressure; a slowed rate of breathing, you’ll also experience a deeper calmness between your mind, body and soul. It is this awareness between all three that helps you focus, stay calm and experience less stress throughout the rest of your chaotic and hectic day. And we all know that having less stress, both mentally and physically has many health benefits of its own.

Doing the Corpse Pose

Start by lying on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides with your hands about six inches away from your body, palms up. Let your feet naturally rotate outward. And close your eyes.

  • Breathe in and out naturally.
  • Relax and allow your body to feel as if it were sinking into the floor.
  • Starting at the soles of your feet and working up to the top of your head, concentrate on releasing every part of your body.
  • When you get to your head, concentrate on relaxing your face; let your eyes fall deep in their sockets. Peace and silence should permeate throughout your mind, body, and soul.
  • Dedicate five minutes to this pose for each 30 minutes of yoga practice.
  • To end the pose, begin to deepen your breath. Slowly, and through gentle movement, bring the physical awareness back to your body, by starting at the far end of your extremities and wiggling your fingers and toes. Now roll to your left or right side; lay there and rest for a moment. When ready, deeply inhale while bringing yourself up to a comfortable seated position.
  • Finish bringing yourself back to the present and carry the peace and stillness derived from the pose with you throughout the rest of your day.

Start with Sun Salutation – End with the Corpse Pose

If you have to leave class early, be sure to warm-up with the Sun Salutation, forgo doing another pose or two if necessary, but do not forgo doing the Corpse Pose because no yoga practice is complete without this final relaxation pose.

How Can Overweight People Practice Yoga?

Yes, overweight people can benefit by doing yoga.

Yoga Fitness Tips for Overweight People

The great thing about yoga is it can be practiced by anyone – even if you are overweight. Yes, all the photos you see of people doing yoga are thin, fit and trim, but that for the most part is a marketing hype to sell yoga products and clothes because thin sells. However, there are stylish yet functional yoga clothes for the 36% of the people obese; sometimes you just have to look harder and do more research to find them.

Once you have the clothes you’re going to where and your mat, it’s time to join a class. The hardest part will be walking into the class for the first time. Yes, you might be the only overweight person there, but you should stand proud that you’re taking action and are at least willing to give it a try. The only one that will hold you back from doing yoga is you. The rest of your classmates could care less how you look as all of you are there for the same reason – to reap the benefits – like improved fitness, greater flexibility, reduced blood pressure, less stress, and yes weight loss and an improved self-image.

Best Type of Yoga for Overweight People

There are many different types of yoga. Because plus-size yogis may not be able to do many of the poses, or they may have to modify how they do some postures, one type of yoga is better suited for them – Iyengar. Lyengar yoga uses props like blankets, blocks, straps, harnesses and incline boards. These props make it easier to do some poses.

Helpful Tips for the Overweight Yogi

As a plus-size person, these tips will help you get the most out of yoga:

Create a good stable base. Spread your feet until they are a comfortable distance apart. While many of the standing poses recommend shoulder-width apart, if it is more stable for you to go wider, then do so.

Make yourself comfortable. You know your body better than anyone, so if a body part gets in the way while doing a pose, move it out of the way.

Use props. While you may not be able to touch your hands to your toes when doing the Standing Half Forward Bend pose, you can use a yoga strap and do the pose the modified way. If you have not used props before, ask your instructor to show you the best way to use the ones you need.

Learn to love yourself. Many overweight people have a low self-esteem. Because yoga is non-competitive, use it as an opportunity to connect with just yourself – body, mind and soul. Not only will you reap the physical benefits of yoga, but you’ll find peace with yourself and learn to accept yourself for who you are – you.

In most classes, you’ll find your classmates don’t care who you are, what you look like, or if you can’t do certain poses. All of you are there for the same thing – yoga. The only person holding you back is you. Find a class and get with it!

Hatha Yoga Fitness Goals

Get ready to achieve your Hatha Yoga fitness goals.

Well, we have arrived at the end of this guide on Hatha Yoga for beginners. Hopefully, we have been able to more than stimulate your interest regarding Hatha Yoga and the Hatha Yoga poses.

As you have read in this guide, Hatha Yoga is a discipline which is anchored on gentle movements. But as gentle as the movements are, we’re very sure that you have also noticed how invigorating some of the poses could be, and that’s because your released energy has been transformed and made more pure.

The breathing exercises as shown in the Hatha Yoga for beginners guide and mentioned in some poses contribute to the purification of the energy that you release. This purer form of energy comes about when the mind gets to shed its burdens.

Meeting Your Hatha Yoga Fitness Goals

As you have experienced while doing the Hatha Yoga poses and especially after each wrap-up, your Hatha Yoga fitness goals can easily be met on three levels (physical, mental, and spiritual), provided that you are willing to go with the flow of the exercises.

It is you, yourself, as the yogi, who can attest to the way that your state of health and wellness are developing. Fitness is not a goal that is achieved in just one sitting, or by investing your passion to attain it, in only a short period. Fitness, particularly when it is pursued through Hatha Yoga, is a process that needs to be sustained and nurtured over time.

It is a fact that Hatha Yoga poses are not enough in themselves, to guarantee eternal fitness. You must be also aware of the need to stick to a proper diet that is based on your lifestyle’s needs. However, even with a proper diet, if you do not condition yourself to have the right frame of mind, then your health will still suffer.

Keep in Mind What Your Hatha Yoga Fitness Goals Are

At the end of the day, it is crucial to your well-being to remember that as far as your fitness goals are concerned – you are not just your body. You are not just flesh and blood. You are also your mind and your spirit. Therefore, you should focus on all three aspects and give them the nurturing they need.

And that’s what Hatha Yoga poses can help you to accomplish. Go now to and subscribe to the Newsletter and get access to a total of 77 Hatha Yoga Videos containg 70 yoga pose demonstrations to help get you started. And if you haven’t read the whole Hatha Yoga Training Guide you can go back and start at the beginning, then prepare to begin reaching your Hatha Yoga fitness goals.

Namaste Yoga

Enter and exit with Namaste yoga.

Namaste is a greeting that is usually shared among students and the yoga teacher at the beginning and completion of each yoga class. It is a very special greeting which is literally saying – bow (nama) – I (as) – you (te), or in ordinary English “I bow to you.”

The “you” that’s given reverence in this greeting is not what is seen on the surface. If you, for example, happen to be a much appreciated and talented Chef de Cuisine of a popular and high-end restaurant, the yoga instructor is not being reverential to you, in your role as an accomplished Chef.

Your occupation has nothing to do with the reverence being given. Neither is the instructor being reverential to you, based on your gender. Saying Namaste has no bearing on whether you are male or female. It also has no connection to your age, whether you are a teenager, a young adult, or a senior citizen.

In other words, when a fellow yoga student or a yoga master says “Namaste” to you, human-erected and defined social-economic and cultural barriers are bypassed. It is the integral you, the inner you, the real you which is being greeted with pure respect.

Connecting with the Divine

It is amazing how such a simple phrase communicates a profound sense of respect for one another, a connection that emanates from what is acknowledged as the Divine Spark of Life. Again, if this sounds a little too metaphysical for your taste, you need to remember at this point that yoga is an ordinary fitness tool. It is not simply concerned with your physical health and well-being.

As this guide has described in various articles, yoga, particularly Hatha Yoga, is all about achieving a balance between mind, body, and spirit through workouts that incorporate meditation, breathing, and poses.

The underlying principles are simple and clear:

  1. When your mind does not function well, your body and spirit are affected and as a result, they also will not function well.
  2. When your body has ailments or injuries, it brings pressure on the mind and can cripple the spirit.
  3. When your spirit or true inner self is troubled, your mind gets cluttered and your thought processes become awry, and as a result, the welfare of your body could become neglected.

Namaste yoga, which is an offshoot of Hatha Vinyasa yoga, seeks to address the imbalance, initially through the greeting of “I bow to you” which immediately negates the ego of either the student or teacher from sowing discord in the yoga class.

Namaste Yoga – Hands to the Heart

The typical Namaste pose involves putting the palms together, in front of where the heart is approximately located. The eyes are closed and a short bow is done. Another way is to assume again the praying position of the hands, and raise to the center of the forehead, where your “third eye” is supposed to be located, then gently moved to the heart before bowing. In Hindu belief, the third eye is the invisible sense organ that allows you to see or perceive things that are hidden from ordinary or normal vision.

Namaste Yoga for Energy Flow

The Namaste greeting figuratively clears the air before each yoga session. The greetings helps to lay the foundation for the release of positive energy. After the Namaste greeting, various Sun Salutation poses can be done. Check out the videos for more details and demonstrations about these salutation poses.

Closing the Session in Peace with Namaste Yoga

After the yoga class, it is customary to once again go through the Namaste greeting. Only, this time, instead of a welcoming sort of gesture, it is now a kind of grateful blessing conferred on you.

Saying and performing Namaste at the end of a yoga class is believed to heighten the levels of calmness, mental keenness, and physical well-being that were developed through the exercise of yoga posing. Be sure to grab access to the Namaste pose video as well as the other 69 Hatha Yoga videos when you subscribe to the the Newsletter and start enjoying fitness the Hatha Yoga way. Lastly, we’ll wrap up this guide helping you to get started achieving your Hatha Yoga fitness goals in the final chapter.

Shavashana Yoga Pose

Here is how to do the shavashana pose.

There are numerous things that delineate the differences between the cultures of the West and the East, and among the more highly interesting ones is the dissimilarity of perspectives regarding death.

The West views death as the complete cessation of someone’s physical life. in such a belief system, life is a one-shot deal and death is the final equalizer. Meanwhile, many in the East, particularly those who are followers of Hinduism and Buddhism, believe in a cycle of death and rebirth.

This latter belief is most likely one of the reasons why many in the East do not see death as something strange and to be feared. On the contrary, for those who believe in the death and rebirth cycle, death is a mere portal, a transition from one state of being to the other, with numerous possibilities for the continuation of life, albeit in another state of existence.

Shavashana yoga internalizes the effort to open up to a world of possibilities. It is literally translated as Corpse Pose. Another name for Shavashana is Mrtasana, directly translated as ‘death pose,’ which stems from the base form of the pose and mirrors the position of one who is already dead (physically).

Qualities of the Shavashana Yoga Pose

Shavashana yoga is a form of meditation. Although considered to be the ‘easiest’ pose in yoga, there are still variants and modifications to this pose because of the understanding that not everyone understands what comfort is, in the same manner. Comfort is main factor of this pose. As a form of stress relief, Shavashana helps the body and mind to synchronize and reset itself from any internal or external form of stress.

Towards the achievement of optimum results, focus is essential in Shavashana. Integrate the same level of focus into your daily routine, to help your body become rejuvenated, before continuing on to meet the everyday stresses of your life.

Here’s a Vidoe Demonstration of the Shavashana Yoga Pose

Benefits of the Shavashana Yoga Pose

  • Mental – the Shavashana Pose improves overall concentration, trains the mind to stay calm even when panic is already ensuing all around, increases your capacity to focus, lessens the incidence of anxiety attacks.
  • Physical – the Shavashana Pose is able to control heart rate and respiration. It loosens tense, bunched-up muscles and lowers blood pressure.
  • Spiritual – the Shavashana Pose allows the inner self to get in touch with concepts that are tied up with possibilities, or realities that are, as of yet, non-existing. By freeing the mind anxiety and stress, a whole world of pleasurable creativity is released within you.

Safety Alert

Shavashana Yoga is often so pleasurable to weary yogis seeking relief such that they sometimes fall asleep! When you’re performing this pose, try to soften your jaw and feel the heightened sense of your hearing. Initiate a heightened sense of withdrawal to get as relaxed as possible.

Avoid any wrestling of thoughts while trying to avoid sleeping, as this is one of the many distractions that you may encounter.

This pose is not recommended for people with back injuries that have not yet fully healed. Pregnant women who do this yoga exercise are also reminded to use props such as a rolled-up blanket to slightly elevate the head while lying down in order to avoid possible dizziness.

You have now learned about one of the most relaxing yoga poses there is; Shavashana Yoga. Use the demonstration video to see this pose in action, if you really want to call it action. It’s more likely you’ll have to resist falling asleep if you’re the least bit tired when you decide to practice it. Go ahead and subscribe to the Newsletter to get your hands on all 70 yoga videos. Next up, we’ll dive into “Namaste Yoga” and connect with the diving spark of life.

Happy Baby Pose

Experience the relaxation of the happy baby pose.

In the section titled Sampling Yoga Workouts for Fun, we briefly discussed the Hatha Yoga Happy Baby Pose and revealed how this yoga posture can actually make a yogi feel a contented baby’s sensations.

For a Content and Relaxed Existence

In Hatha Yoga, we have the Happy Baby Pose, or Ananda Balasana in Sanskrit (ananda = bliss, extreme happinness, bala = baby, asana = pose) to remind us as we perform it, that simple delights can be sufficient in giving us a relaxed and contented existence.

The Happy Baby Pose Sample:

Lie on your back and hug your knees right into your chest, imitating a very happy baby. This position should be familiar to anyone who has kids. Separate your knees and have each ankle straight over its respective knee, your shins should be perpendicular to the floor. Flex feet and hold on to them outside as you draw your knees downward. Roll from side to side from your sacrum and see if it feels good, but please, resist the urge to put your toes in your mouth (not that a few have attempted to do so, but the “happy baby” feeling that arose was just too good to pass up). After five breaths, stretch your legs and you’re good with your sample yoga workouts.

Qualities of the Happy Baby Pose

The Happy Baby Pose clearly assumes the body contours of a baby at play, amusing itself and finding contentment on its own volition.

Adults can often be complicated, difficult to understand and hard-pressed in giving understanding to others. A baby in contrast does not have the complexities associated with a grown-up. A baby does not mind if it does not have a brand new car as the neighbors do, a baby does not care if others are prettier, stronger, or wealthier than him or her.

In other words, a baby can appreciate simple joys of life. The Happy Baby Pose personifies such contentment and transfers it to you, the yoga practitioner.

Here’s a Video Demonstration of the Happy Baby Pose

Benefits of the Happy Baby Pose

  • Mental – this yoga pose soothes the mind, removing thoughts of despair and mental fatigue.
  • Physical – this yoga pose is ideal for stretching the spine and inner groins, inducing an overall feeling of relaxation. “Happy hormones” such as endorphins (pain blocker), and the neurotransmitter serotonin which is responsible for making you feel relaxed and content, are released within the body through reiterations of the pose.
  • Spiritual – this yoga pose aids in giving you a sense of deep contentment, making you less aggressive towards yourself and others.

Safety Alert

The Happy Baby Pose should not be attempted by pregnant women and those with spinal or neck injuries.

With the Happy Baby pose, you too can learn to better appreciate the simple joys that life has to offer and you have access to another 69 yoga poses when you subscribe to the Newsletter. Next, will do a short review of “Shavashana Yoga” and attempt to open up a world of possibilities.

Hath Yoga Bridge Pose

The bridge pose promotes a good posture and better breathing.

There are numerous sayings related to bridges. These refer to the nature of bridges as instruments for crossing over from one space to another, with the cross-over usually being done to avoid a break that would deter movement (as in a body of water separating two areas of land).

In Hatha Yoga, the Bridge Pose, or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana in Sanskrit ( setu = bridge, banda = lock, asana = pose) means to put your body, mind, and spirit in a position of crossing over, of moving beyond self-imposed boundaries.

Qualities of the Bridge Pose

The Bridge Pose uses the knees and the legs to raise and support the lower torso and the hips. While in this position of semi-elevation, the head and upper body are flat down on the floor. In this sense, the arc of a bridge is simulated. Temporarily modifying the natural flow of blood in this manner jump-starts the energy of the yogi, making the mind more receptive and the body more open to withstanding stress.

Demonstration of the Bridge Pose

Benefits of the Bridge Pose

  • Mental – this pose is great for the relief of mild depression, fatigue, anxiety, and stress. It relaxes the thought processes sufficiently, to enable the mind to consider various options that could serve as solutions to any problem or issue that you might be worrying over.
  • Physical – this pose is ideal for stimulating the thyroid, lungs, and abdominal organs, aiding in attaining better digestion and respiration. Menstrual issues and symptoms of menopause are also relieved through regular practice of this pose. The spine, the neck, and the chest are stretched, as well as the legs and the hips, which are therapeutic to have better posture and breathing. The pose is also good for relieving insomnia.
  • Spiritual – through the Bridge Pose’s reduction of fatigue and anxiety, you will be more able to create opportunities for internal self-improvement, going over and beyond what you have previously perceived (and possibly accepted) as your limitations.

Safety Alert

The Bridge Pose can possibly cause a neck injury if not done well. Refer to the accompanying demonstration videos to get a fuller grasp of how to execute this Hatha Yoga pose. Be clear on your limitations and never over-extend yourself as small steps forward, favor big steps backwards.

Now that you have a grip on how the Bridge Pose is done, be sure to subscribe to the Newsletter and see how 69 other Hath Yoga poses are done. In the next article of this online Hatha Yoga guide we’ll discover the “Happy Baby Pose” along with the treasures that come with experiencing the simple joys of life.

Hatha Yoga Pigeon Pose

In yoga, the pigeon pose is one that can increase your self awareness.

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.

Safety Alert

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:

  1. Muscle tearing
  2. Sacroiliac issues
  3. 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 Newsletter. Next, we’ll explore doing the “Bridge Pose” and cross beyond those self imposed boundaries.