I fell in love with Pigeon Pose over a decade ago when I first took up running.
After a couple of months running, I started getting pain in my left knee when I ran. My running was really more of a trot (still is) than running. I soon learned I had weak inner thigh muscles and a tight IT band that was pulling my knees and causing my pain.
The orthopedic doctor I saw told me to "stop running" and that I have arthritis in my knees. I knew I couldn't stop running because I was solo weekday parenting two small children and home schooling them. My marriage was dying a slow painful death. I needed running like I needed to breathe.
I just had to find a way to ease the pain caused by my running so that I could continue to enjoy this stress reliever. Researching my symptoms online lead me back to my yoga practice, which had sat unused on a shelf since my final trimesters of both pregnancies when every muscle was sore and stressed.
At first, due to my injury, this pose hurt a lot. I had to put towels under my hips & knees to ease into it. Then slowly as I healed and worked out the knots with a foam roller, I eased into this pose and it felt like heaven. It is called a runners pose, but I truly believe it should be called a mother's pose.
So much strength and tightening and stress is housed in a women's hips. What we lack in upper body strength, we make up for in moving mountains or book shelves with our core and hips.
Getting out of the house and running errands seem unthinkable in the first few days after bringing your second baby home, but very soon you master the toddler on one hip and an infant car seat on the other hip. Within weeks you back out in the world hauling two small people around with ease. We were made for this work, but most of us don't learn the self care we need to protect the muscles that wrap from our backs down and around our knees.
If you have carried babies, or wounded, or care for those unable to care for themselves, pigeon pose needs to become part of your day. In time, it feels like sinking into a warm bath at the end of a hard day.
Grab a towel or two to put where ever you feel tightness when you start this pose. The idea is to relax into this pose and into the ground.
This pose can be an entire nights yoga sequence.
Get quiet. Sit down and move into the pose, one leg at a time. Once seated my thoughts stay centered on trying to keep both of my sit bones on the ground and level. I can sit here all night. Until I could relax my upper body onto my thigh, I would put a pillow under my chest and head and relax there. It feels as good as Child's Pose.
If this is all you ever do, enjoy the feel of your hips opening. Your back and knees will thank you over the coming months.
There are several variations to move into after the initial pose. Each one as beautiful to the body and spirit as the beginner pose.
This is my go to pose as a mother, a runner, a desk sitter and an aging weekend warrior.
This is a pose for those of us who are aging and not as agile as we will need to be with the adventurous lives we lead.
Pigeon Pose Yoga Journal