One of my favorite poses to say in sanskrit, Eka Pāda Rājakapotāsana or One-Legged King Pigeon Pose is our focus for the week. We’ll combine this yummy hip opener with our previous two twists for a funky arm balance next week, so stay tuned!
Think about how much time we spend tightening up our hips by chair sitting, physical activity, or retaining emotional energy. That should give you an idea of how much time we’ll need to reverse the tightness. There’s no instant cure for tight hips, commit to long holds and calm breath to release tension and create mobility.
Try these variations of Pigeon to open the hips. If you are really tight, stay in the posture for up to 5 minutes on each side (with the exception of the standing variation).
Option 1 – Seated. The great thing about this variation is that it makes it easy to keep the hips grounded and there’s little pressure on the knee joint. From a seated posture, bend the knees and step the feet to hip distance. Keeping the back long, flex the foot and cross it over the opposite thigh. Keeping the foot active and the hips grounded, gently reach the knee away from chest. Move the bottom foot closer to the tail for more intensity and move it way for less.
Option 2 – Standing. Stand with the feet at hip distance, shift weight to one foot, flex the other, and cross the ankle over the thigh, above the knee. Sit the hips back as if you are in Utkaṭāsana. Keep the lifted knee heavy, working the shin parallel to the floor. Hands can be at the heart or overhead for more intensity.
Option 3 – Upright. From down dog, bring one knee forward and set it just outside the same wrist, bringing the shin and thigh to the ground. As much as the knee allows bring the shin forward. Keep the back toes tucked, with the knee pointed toward the floor. Walk the hands back to stack the shoulders over the hips.
Option 4 – Surrender. Untuck the back toes and let the back leg be soft, keeping the knee pointed down. Walk the arms forward taking the forearms to blocks, to the floor, or walk all the way out, so the chest rests on the thigh. If needed, place a blanket under the hip of the forward leg for support and freedom to surrender into the pose.
If you have knee issues, move carefully through these postures. Work first on the seated variation and mindfully decide if the others will serve you. Try to isolate the work in the hips, keeping the rest of the body calm. These postures can also be integrated into your everyday life. Practice a variation while talking to your kids, watching TV, reading a book, or perusing the apps on your phone.
Follow this #PowerPose challenge @suzannewrightyoga on Instagram or at Suzanne Wright Yoga on Facebook. If you post your pictures or about your experience be sure to tag #PowerPose and @suzannewrightyoga.