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Yoga Pose of the Week: Pigeon Twist

Strike a Yoga Pose: Pigeon Twist

Yoga keeps me running by restoring length to the overused and shortened muscles in my hips and legs. Hip-opening poses like Pigeon are essential if you run, bike, hike, or sit at a desk regularly – all of which apply to me, by the way. Plus, stretching out tight hips can also relieve lower-back pain. This Pigeon variation will not only open your hips, it will also stretch your quads while giving you nice spinal twist.

Sanskrit Name: Eka Pada Kapotasana (variation)
English Translation: One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (variation)
Also Called: Pigeon Twist

There's more to this pose than just sitting on the ground. To see what I mean,


  • Begin in Downward Facing Dog. Bring your right knee forward between your hands and come into Pigeon pose.
  • Rest your right hand beside your right shin and bend your left knee.
  • Reach for your left foot with your left hand and work on gently pressing the sole of your left foot down in the direction of your left hip.
  • Now place your right hand on the top of your left foot and twist to the left, wrapping your left hand around your lower back. If you can, grab onto your upper right thigh in front of your hip. Use your hands to press into your body and get you deeper into the twist.
  • Stay here for five or more breaths, and then release your hands and straighten out your left leg.
  • Twist your body back towards the right and plant your palms on either side of your right knee.
  • Step your right leg back and come into Downward Facing Dog for one complete breath. Then bring your left knee forward in between your hands and do this pose on the other side.
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