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Stretch of the Week: Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose

The advanced Pigeon Pose

We all know there’s more to training than just showing up for the daily WOD. CrossFit is a demanding sport that requires the perfect synergy between sleep, diet, rest and training.

Part of fine tuning our training quite often means working on our mobility and flexibility outside of the box.

As the 2013 Games season gets underway we thought it was the perfect time to give you at least one stretch a week that is effective and easily implemented into your CrossFit routine.

That said, today’s stretch of the week comes in the shape of short legs, a small head and mostly grey plumage. A nice way to describe this animal would be a descendent of the dove but it’s probably best known as that feral bird in town. Just as the title indicates this stretch is named after the pigeon. To most city dwellers the pigeon is considered a pest, but despite its unpopularity we can learn a lesson of limbering from the seed-eating creature.

What is it?

Known as the Pigeon pose this stretch is performed lying down on the ground. It is a stretch that aims to lengthen the hips, groin and everything else in between. It is particularly useful for those who hold tension in their lower body.

Pigeon Pose

What are the benefits?

Just like the bird, I have to admit this stretch is not the most popular, particularly among the boys in my yoga class (so guys you have been warned). But as they say, it’s the things that hurt the most that bring out the best in us.

-Stretches the groin, hip, psoas and abdomen.

-Lengthens the shoulders and neck.

-Opens the upper body, namely the chest.

-Alleviates episodes of urinary disorders.

-Stimulates the digestive organs.

How is it done?

1. Begin this pose on all fours with the knees directly under the hips. Place your hands slightly ahead of the shoulders.

2. Bring your right knee in front of the torso, and slide it towards your right hand. Simultaneously, slide your calf under the torso. Then, adjust the right foot so it falls in line with your left knee.

Cartoon Pigeon

3. Relax the buttocks to the floor and place the right heel in front of the left hip.

4. As you take a full breath out begin to lower the torso towards the floor in front. Stretch and walk the arms as far forward as your body will allow.

5. Relax and hold the stretch upwards of 40 seconds to 2 minutes. Stay in pigeon for however long your body requires, but be sure to maintain relaxed breathing.

6. When you’re ready to come out of the stretch, exhale and bring the left knee forward, underneath the hips. Lift up and return to all fours to repeat each step on the left leg.

Things to note

Some people may feel a bit of pressure placed on the straight leg, which is coming from the floor. You can place a towel underneath the leg that remains straight for a little extra comfort. As with any pose the longer you hang out the more limber the body becomes and this stretch is no exception. The longer you hold Pigeon pose the more the hips will open.

Still confused?

Then we have two demo videos for you below.

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