A friend of mine loves Pigeon Pose so much she says she can fall asleep in it. I don’t know about all that but it is a great hip opener and should be part of your yoga routine. I think I love Pigeon Pose because it is good for your knees and can help make other poses more attainable. Proper alignment is important as is preparation – this is a good explanation of how to get in to the posture.
The benefits of open hips can be seen in postures like Warrior II or Triangle Pose. The more open they are, the better able you are to rotate your thigh out and therefore line up your with your foot. The knee should rotate out towards the pinky rather than the big toe. When your hips are rotated, that is harder to achieve – making the knee overworked instead of having the hip socket do most of the work.
And that hip socket is meant to do a lot more than we ask of it on a daily basis. When I took a day-long yoga class at Yoga Vida we talked about anatomy for a good hour. The teacher reminded us that at one point, our arms didn’t just hang from their sockets and carry fancy handbags. We used them to climb trees and hang from branches – asking them to move in many directions. The same is true for our hips and poses like Pigeon can help with that range of motion.
I have had more than one yoga teacher say that we keep our sadness in our hips. I don’t know if all that’s true – I certainly keep my stress in my back so why not? But either way, whether we release sadness or just tightness, Pigeon Pose is your friend.