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 Comments on Quick Hip-Opener: Double Pigeon

  1. NAOmni
    16 March, 2009 at 6:48 pm (8 years ago)

    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. VeggieGirl
    16 March, 2009 at 6:49 pm (8 years ago)

    I did a LOT of hip-openers in this morning’s yoga session – they always help to relieve stress!!

  3. Anna
    16 March, 2009 at 6:53 pm (8 years ago)

    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.

  4. Sagan
    16 March, 2009 at 7:59 pm (8 years ago)

    Ooh I love that exercise! Thanks for the demo.

  5. juliet
    16 March, 2009 at 8:13 pm (8 years ago)

    I hold my stress in my back. If yoga released it, I’d do it every day!

  6. carolinebee
    16 March, 2009 at 8:52 pm (8 years ago)

    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!

  7. Hangry Pants
    16 March, 2009 at 9:37 pm (8 years ago)

    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.

  8. clare
    16 March, 2009 at 10:06 pm (8 years ago)

    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!

  9. eatingbender
    16 March, 2009 at 10:12 pm (8 years ago)

    I agree with Caroline – that looks like relief 🙂 I think I carry a lot of stress in my neck and back.

    Thanks for the shout out, Maggie!!

  10. Leng
    17 March, 2009 at 12:42 am (8 years ago)

    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.

  11. Missy (Missy Maintains)
    17 March, 2009 at 6:19 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks for the shout out! I should try that exercise! I am very new to yoga!!

  12. Chantal
    17 March, 2009 at 6:44 am (8 years ago)

    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 🙂

  13. Hil
    17 March, 2009 at 8:20 am (8 years ago)

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

  14. K
    17 March, 2009 at 8:53 am (8 years ago)

    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 🙂

  15. Julie
    17 March, 2009 at 9:12 am (8 years ago)

    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!

  16. coco
    17 March, 2009 at 9:36 am (8 years ago)

    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!

  17. Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter)
    17 March, 2009 at 10:31 am (8 years ago)

    Love hip openers. Thanks Maggie! I tend to hold things in my chest/pecs. My massage therapist is always getting onto me about it. She tells me to walk around and stick my boobs out. 🙂

  18. Sara
    17 March, 2009 at 2:06 pm (8 years ago)

    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!

  19. Jenni
    17 March, 2009 at 2:07 pm (8 years ago)

    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!

  20. Erin
    17 March, 2009 at 2:36 pm (8 years ago)

    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.

  21. Lara
    17 March, 2009 at 10:35 pm (8 years ago)

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

  22. fitforfree
    18 March, 2009 at 8:20 am (8 years ago)

    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 🙂