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The Pigeon Stretch

The pigeon stretch is a yoga pose that primarily targets the hip flexors, piriformis, and glutes. It offers several benefits for those who practice it regularly:

  1. Improved Flexibility: The pigeon stretch helps increase flexibility in the hip flexors, groin, and glutes, which can enhance overall mobility and range of motion.

  2. Alleviation of Lower Back Pain: Tight hip flexors and piriformis muscles can contribute to lower back pain. Performing the pigeon stretch regularly can help alleviate this discomfort by releasing tension in these areas.

  3. Prevention of Injury: By increasing flexibility and range of motion in the hips, the pigeon stretch can help prevent injuries, particularly in activities that require hip mobility such as running, cycling, or weightlifting.

  4. Relief from Sciatica Symptoms: Sciatica, which is characterized by pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, can be eased by stretching the piriformis muscle, which the pigeon stretch targets.

  5. Stress Reduction: Like many yoga poses, the pigeon stretch encourages relaxation and mindful breathing, which can help reduce stress and promote mental well-being.


Here are five steps to perform the pigeon stretch correctly:

  1. Starting Position: Begin in a tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your right leg straight back behind you, keeping your hips squared to the floor.

  2. Transition to Pigeon Pose: Slide your right knee forward towards your right wrist. Angle your right knee towards your right wrist and position your right ankle closer to your left wrist. Your right shin may not be parallel to the front of the mat; that's okay.

  3. Alignment Check: Ensure your left leg is extended straight behind you. Your hips should be squared to the front of the mat. If you feel any discomfort in your knee, you can place a cushion or folded blanket underneath your right hip for support.

  4. Forward Fold: Inhale deeply, then exhale as you slowly walk your hands forward, folding your upper body over your right shin. Keep your spine long and your chest open. You should feel a deep stretch in your right glute and hip area.

  5. Hold and Breathe: Hold the pigeon stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply and relaxing into the pose. Focus on releasing any tension in your hips and allowing your body to sink deeper into the stretch with each exhale. After holding for the desired duration, slowly walk your hands back, and transition out of the pose by lifting your hips and returning to tabletop position. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side.

Want More Stretches and Workout Ideas? View Workouts With Warm Ups, Cool Downs and Routines with Movements Like This!


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