The pigeon pose is one of my favourite stretches!
I call it a ‘keystone stretch’ because the pigeon pose helps to unlock so many things. The stretch primarily targets the glutes and the piriformis, but it will also be helping some of the deep rotators of the hip. Some of these muscles have connective tissue attachments to the lower lumbar ligaments and to something called the ‘thoracolumbar fascia’ which spans from the pelvis to the thorax.
So you can see why I call it a keystone stretch! Loosening the back of the hip and pelvis really can have a huge impact on the rest of the body. (For the anatomy geeks among you, check out the muscles of the hip here.)
We call it a ‘pose’, but really I don’t think of it that way. I prefer to think of it as a framework to help explore my body through movement.
Here are some of the little nuances and tricks I use to engage with the tissues a bit more and to find the bits that need the stretch the most.
I often recommend the pigeon pose to help unlock a stiff lower back, tight hips, or if someone is either very active with exercise, or very sedentary with lots of sitting.
The stretch can be fairly intense, so it is not always recommended if you are in acute pain and it is best to check with your osteopath to see if it is right for you. Always follow the principle that a stretch should feel ‘nice’. If it becomes sore, stop until you get to see your health professional.
If you want to see how the pigeon pose might fit into a complete hip stretching routine, have a look at this video.