Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Hip Yoga: Let’s Talk About Pigeon

By Anytimeyoga @anytimeyoga

I’m well aware that I’ve talked about pigeon before, but as it’s pretty much the pose associated with external hip rotation — which is an overly simplistic view of asana — I figured it couldn’t hurt to talk about pigeon again, this time probably adding in variations.

Though maybe the variations are best addressed in a different post. The “starting point” pose is involved enough on its own.

[Cindy Mastry instructing for Livestrong. Video via YouTube.]

Interestingly, according to my copy of Yoga Anatomy (which, there is apparently now a second edition — damn, my bank account did not need to know this), the primary external rotator working in the front leg is the gluteus maximus. For reasons of anatomy I don’t yet quite understand, the other rotating muscles appear to be primarily lengthening here, particularly in the folded forward version of the pose.

Best as I can tell right now, this has something to do with the different motions of the hip joint — internal v. external rotation, yes, but also flexion v. extension and abduction v. adduction — and the interplay between them. Why does it look like I’m off to do yet more anatomy research and then report back?


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