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Pose Challenge: Flying Pigeon Pose

Looking to master a challenging pose? Try Flying Pigeon!

The Flying Pigeon Pose is a challenging arm balance. If you are more advanced in your yoga practice, it can be very beneficial for both opening your hips and strengthening your core. The pose is certainly no easy feat. So where do you begin if you’re looking to master this posture?

If you break it down into small steps, you can learn Flying Pigeon much more easily and realize that it actually is possible! Follow the five steps below to take flight in Flying Pigeon pose.

By Leah Sugerman


Mountain Pose


Start standing with your feet parallel and approximately hip-width distance apart. Lift your toes and spread them wide and evenly apart. Slowly lower one toe down at a time maintaining the distance between them. Evenly distribute your weight between all four corners of your feet. Lift your kneecaps to activate your quadriceps. Allow your tailbone to become heavy, lengthening toward the floor. Lift your pelvic floor. Draw your belly button toward your spine and up toward your rib cage. Lengthen the crown of your head toward the sky.


Figure-Four Chair Pose


From Mountain Pose, shift your weight over into your left leg and rise to the ball of your right foot. When you’re steady, inhale to lift that foot up off the floor and flex into your ankle. Externally rotate your hip (turning your toes toward the right) and bend deeply into your right knee. Cross your right ankle over your left knee to create the shape of a figure-four. Bend deeply into your left knee, sinking your hips low toward the floor.


Squatting Figure-Four


From your Figure-Four Chair Pose, draw your hands to meet at your heart in a prayer position. Begin to lean the weight of your torso forward as you bend deeper into your left leg. Fold your torso over your right shin and release your hands to the floor, shoulder-width apart. Rise to the ball of your left foot. Spread your fingers wide and evenly on the ground and press down firmly into all four corners of your palms, gripping at the mat with your fingertips. Hook your flexed right ankle around your upper left arm.


Initial Lift


From your Squatting Figure-Four, look forward. Activate deeply into your core, lifting the pelvic floor and drawing your belly in and up. Bend your elbows to create an almost-perfect 90 degree angle within your arms (creating a Chaturanga-shape) and rest your right shin across this “shelf” that you’ve created. Begin to lean your weight forward in space, moving more weight into your hands. Keep shifting your weight forward until your find that magical point of counterbalance (when your legs become light and easily lift from the floor).


Full Flying Pigeon Pose


From your Initial Lift, again find a counterbalance of weight by leaning your torso further forward in space. Simultaneously, begin to extend your left leg straight toward the back of your mat (and even up toward the sky if you want an extra challenge).

Read the full article here.

All images courtesy of Leah Sugerman.

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