Help your students to open their hips with pigeon pose.
Tight hips can cause problems in numerous ways, such as by compromising your posture, pulling on your lower back and decreasing your stability. In yoga, tight hips can make some poses seem near impossible. Yoga though also has effective hip-opening poses -- such as Pigeon pose. A double benefit for your hips, Pigeon pose helps to externally rotate the hip joint while also lengthening the psoas. Full King Pigeon is an advanced pose that requires a large amount of flexibility -- but one-legged King Pigeon pose, the variation taught in many yoga classes, is accessible for most practitioners. The ability to give students proper verbal cues is essential for teaching Pigeon pose.1.
Include Pigeon pose toward the end of class, before Savasana. By this point in the practice the student's hips have been adequately warmed and strengthened.2.
Instruct students to come into Pigeon from Downward-Facing Dog. Stepping one foot through your hands while your hips are lifted into the air allows for a greater external rotation of the hips. It is also usually easier for the student to achieve proper placement of the front leg when starting in Down Dog.3.
Have students bring their right foot to their left hand and place their leg down by bringing their knee to the right side of their mat. The shin should be parallel with the top of the mat, or as close to it as possible. Remind students to keep their right foot flexed to protect the knee.4.
Tell the practitioners to rotate their left thighs inwardly, ensuring that the front of their thigh is firmly on the floor. The students' left leg should also be in line with their left hip.5.
Walk around the studio and notice if anyone's right hip is hovering above the floor rather than making contact with it. Place a blanket or block under those students' hips to help them get deeper in the pose.6.
Encourage the practitioners to fold forward from the hips, resting their forehead on a block or on the mat, and extending their arms out in front of their bodies. Instruct the students to breathe deeply, in and out of the nose, for 10 breaths. Repeat with the left leg forward.
- Yoga block
- Yoga blanket
- Assist students once they are in Pigeon pose by placing one hand on their lower back on the side of the extended leg and the other hand on the thigh of the bent leg. Rotate the students' hips open, gently, as the student exhales.
- Learn how to properly do and teach Pigeon pose from a Yoga Alliance-certified yoga teacher.
- Consult with a physician before starting or increasing the intensity of a yoga practice. Let your doctor know if you have any injuries or chronic medical conditions that may become worse from performing yoga.