How to Get Into the Pose
While lying on your back, draw both knees into your chest to help create space along the back. Place both feet onto the floor hip distance apart.
Draw one knee into the chest keeping the other foot on ground. With flexed feet, turn the lifted leg open to place one ankle onto the the opposite thigh. Adjust the standing leg to keep the hips even and the knee in line with the ankle. Reach your arms around the standing leg to hold the back of the thigh or front of the shin. Keep your head, neck and shoulders on the ground.
You may keep the standing foot on the ground or lift it off the ground to draw your legs in toward your chest. However, if you knee moves closer to you than your foot, back off a bit so that the knee and ankle are the same distance away from your torso.
Keeping both hips on the ground, close your eyes and take at least 5-10 deep and steady breaths. You can also set a timer for 1-3 minutes for a deeper stretch before moving on to the other side.
Different Variations & Modifications
Depending on how your body feels on any given day, you may want to experiment with different variations.
- Keep the standing foot on the ground and press your hands into your thighs for a grounding and gentle stretch. If you are feeling especially tight, move the standing foot further away from your seat and press both hands into the top of your hip flexors.
- Use the wall for a gentle but deeper stretch that helps to keep the hips in alignment. Begin by placing both feet against the wall and moving into the pose in the same way. You can keep your standing foot on the wall and adjust the intensity of the pose by moving closer or further away from the wall.
- For a deeper stretch on or off the wall, straighten the standing leg straight up to the ceiling maintaining integrity in the hips by keeping them evenly grounded on the floor.
Benefits for Swimmers & Other Athletes
Stretching after every workout can boost recovery and prevent injury by restoring balance to the body. Reclined pigeon is a great pose to do after an intense lower body workout that impacts the hips (e.g.breaststroke kick).
Benefits of this pose include: