Quick Hip-Opener: Double Pigeon

This past weekend I took a great ashtanga yoga class at my local studio, Yoga is Youthfulness in Mountain View, CA.  While we were sitting waiting for class to begin, my teacher (Mojdeh) gave us a nice hip-opening pose to try out.  I looked it up when I got home and apparently it’s called the double-pigeon.

Begin with your left knee bent on the floor.  Then take the right leg and place the right ankle on the left knee.  Don’t press down; just let the weight of your leg open your hip.

This is for the right hip (stay 5-10 deep breaths):


And for the left (stay 5-10 deep breaths):


If you want to feel more sensation, feel free to bring your arms to the floor in front of you and walk them out.  Remember to keep a flat back!

Obviously my hips are not very open today.  I think it’s due to my lack of stretching after yesterday’s run… and just some general tension.  I tend to hold things in my hips.  My mom does too – she’s told me about emotional moments that she’s had in pigeon pose .  Yoga really can help to release stress/emotion/struggles.  We actually talked about how to approach that kind of situation in my training last weekend.

Where do you hold your stress?  Have you ever felt a release from yoga?

22 Replies to “Quick Hip-Opener: Double Pigeon”

  1. Stress….neck and back I would say….and unfortunately I really haven’t done enough yoga, but I always feel better after I do.


  2. Hip openers are my favorite! I love half and full pigeon, they feel so good. I tend to hold a lot of my stress in between my shoulder blades, and in my lower back.

  3. o man that feels so good i can tell :D! I think i hold stress in my lower back- i usually have to bend my knees, or use a blanket in shivasana b/c my stupid back is hurting!

  4. Oh how I love double pigeon and all other hip openers. I tend to hold stress in my hips and jaw. I love it when yoga helps me let it all out.

  5. coincidence much?! i just taught double pigeon in my class tonight. our focus was dynamic tension in every posture. this was a good demonstration it is important to keep foot flexed across the knee to feel the stretch well and keep the pose active through the entire leg. great pics girl!

  6. I normally tense up in my shoulders and neck. When I’m really focused or stressed my shoulders come up crunching on my neck, which actually makes me pretty sore after wards. I tried to stop it, but it just keeps happening. It may be that because I do it so often, that my body has thought of it as habit.

    I tried this yoga pose and it was very nice. I never knew my hips could open like that.

  7. Just wanted to answer that yoga gives you a release I didn’t even imagine was possible! It’s like a personal chiropractor! You totally motivated me to do yoga every morning and I’ve been sticking with it for about 2 weeks now… it’s been the best way to start my day! So thanks! Especially because I retain most of my tension in my mid- to lower back. Yay for yoga! After all this years of trying to push myself to get into you inspired me 🙂

  8. I hold stress in my hips and somewhat in my hamstrings. The hips are the most stubborn. It feels amazing when it all realeases.

  9. I hold stress in my upper back/neck area BIG TIME! It’s has started to get worse lately too so if there are any tips for that, let me know 🙂

  10. I loveeee that pose! It was in one of the yogadownload 20 minute routines 🙂 I’m a big hip holder haha so I think thats where I hold a lot of stress too!

  11. I think I hold my stress in my neck, back and sometimes in my belly! 🙂 yoga is great for all these parts to release the stress!

  12. Are you new to yoga or have you been practicing for a while? I would really recommend the book The Yoga Bible…it’s a small thick book with tons and tons of poses, body alignment, and counter-poses/modifications. I relied on it a lot when I was first beginning Yoga!

  13. i tend to hold my stress in my jaw (i clench my teeth) and in my neck. that makes for some crazy headaches!

    i really love half-pigeon, so i can only assume that double pigeon is great as well! i’ll try that later when i do my yoga.

    by the way, i love your haircut!

  14. That looks beautiful. Don’t you love ashtanga? It’s like being Catholic and going to church and knowing you’ll get the same thing every time.
    I hold stress in my shoulders and neck.

  15. This is great! The more I run or workout in general, the tigher I have noticed my hips become. I’ll try these out.

  16. Oh man, I definitely hold stress in my hips and have had some quite emotional moments in yoga class!!! I associate pigeon with certain people and places in my life — it’s crazy. I’m glad other people experience it too 🙂

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