For those of us experiencing knee and/or hip discomfort in half pigeon pose, here are 3 modifications you can take that will make the pose feel better in your body:
The 90-90 Version:
Bend your front and back knee at about a 90 degree angle (adjust this to find a position that feels right for you)
Press both feet into the floor and create the action of pulling both feet towards each other - this is to engage the muscles in your legs and hips while they are in their lengthened position. (More on the benefits of this in another blog).
With your arms you can place your hands at shoulder-width distance and press down to broaden your shoulder blades across your upper back (see photo).
After a few breaths lower your forehead onto the floor, on stacked fists or on a block.
Using a Block (or a pillow....or a rolled up towel):
Place a block underneath your bum (the side that is bending the knee at 90 degrees.) The added height will make the posture more accessible.
Work to engage through both feet by spreading your toes, pressing down through both feet and, like the 90-90 version, creating the action of pulling both feet towards each other in order to engage the muscles in your legs and hips while in their lengthened position.
I like to keep my toes curled under but you can also press the top of your back foot into the floor.
Supine Figure 4:
(I will describe according to the leg placement in this photo)
Lying on your back, place your right ankle your left knee. You can either grab your top knee from above or weave your right arm under your right knee and, using both hands grab the back of the left knee.
Try to press your right knee away from your right shoulder and at the same time, using your hands, pull your left knee towards your chest. Breathe and observe the sensation in your hips and knees to stay within your reasonable range.
Switch legs and repeat.
I hope that these modifications are helpful for you.
Please share your feedback: How do they feel for you? What areas feel most tight for you in your half pigeon pose? Please share in the comments below :-)
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Have fun with your practice and until next time!