Have you ever been in a yoga class where someone absolutely refused to use props such as a block or a blanket, struggling and straining through certain poses? When I first started practicing yoga, that was me!
I had a fair amount of flexibility so I thought, “I don’t need no stinkin’ blocks!” That was my ego talking.
Over time, I started experimenting with supported poses, and eventually got out of my own way when I began to experience and realize the benefits of being able to more fully be in a pose with a little help from my prop friends.
My hips love supported pigeon, and yours might too!
Supported Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
You will need a bolster/pillow, a block, and perhaps a blanket.
Place a bolster horizontally on your mat, and have one block near the top of your mat. From here, there are two ways to enter pigeon.
From downward dog, raise your right leg and then use the strength of your abdominal muscles to guide your right knee slowly toward your nose. Allow your right shin to clear the bolster, and then gently lay it down in front of the bolster. Now stretch your left leg long behind you, left toes facing down. You will know you are in position when you are sitting right on top of the bolster. With the extra height, you should be able to better square your hips. (Note: if you feel you need more height, place a folded blanket on top of the bolster to build yourself even more support). Lift and brighten through your chest and extend your spine – with this extra length, begin to fold forward, perhaps placing a block under your forehead for extra support.
Besides downward dog, another great way to enter pigeon is from a kneeling position. Begin with both knees on the bolster, and simply guide your hands forward for support (place hands on blocks for a bit of extra height). Bring your right shin to the front of the bolster near your right wrist, and slide your left leg straight back. Quick and easy – you are in pigeon!
How do your hips feel in supported pigeon? How is your ego? Let me know how it goes!