Seated Pigeon Stretch
sneak this stretch into your day!
Let’s keep the pigeon vibes rolling with another fun fact about pigeons.
Pigeons are highly intelligent animals. They are able to recognize themselves in the mirror, to find same people on two different pictures and to recognize all letters of the English alphabet.
We love the seated version of the more traditional Pigeon pose because it is so easy to sneak it into your day…
seriously, do this every day!
Pretty much every corporate client we come across loves this pose. Maybe not while in the actual stretch, but most definitely in the sense of relief that appears after settling into the shape for a few minutes.
A little Anatomy
The hip joint is a deep “ball-and-socket” joint which allows for the thigh bone to move in extraordinary ranges- flexion/extension, abduction/adduction, and internal/external rotation. The big muscles that power these movements are the glutes, adductors, hip flexors and a pesky little muscle called PIRIFORMIS.
(we added a picture with all the muscles labelled so you can see the relationships)
The Piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttock that connects the thigh bone to the sacrum creating an external rotation of the leg - essentially turning the leg outward. When this muscle gets tight it can create tension in the low back/hamstrings, poor balance, and sciatic nerve pain.
Why is it always so tight?
Short answer: because we sit.
Also, because our most common activities (like cycling, walking, running and stairs) require stability and strength rather than stretching. Stress has a tendency to make you clench your derriere!
How To Do Seated Pigeon.
Sit tall with both feet firmly on the floor.
Cross the right ankle on the left knee.
Maintain length in your side torso while hinging a little bit forward at the hips.
Feel a stretch across the back right hip. Hold and breath for a few minutes before changing sides.
Try to stay balanced on right and left sides - from your sitting bones, your side waist and the length of your spine.
Resist the temptation to hunch forward. Keep your mid back slightly arched in a backbend - do this by holding your top ankle with both hands and squeezing your shoulder blades back.
If the stretch feels too intense try leaning back a little or supporting your top knee with your hand.
If you need a little more spice try using the weight of your hand downward on your top knee, or gently rock from side to side.