1. From the Table or Down Dog, slide the right knee forward between the hands and let the right foot slide over to the left. Slide the left leg back, lowering the hips towards the floor.
2. Press down into the palms or fingertips, inhale and reach the crown of the head up, lengthening the spine. Exhale and sink the hips down into the floor. Roll the shoulders down and back and press and lean forward through the chest.
3. Move as deep into the posture as you can while still maintaining full deep breathing. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.
4. To release: support your weight with the hands as you slide the right knee back into Table or step the right foot back into Down Dog.
5. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Pigeon pose opens the hips and chest, facilitates deeper breathing, and opens the heart center. This posture stimulates the nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic back, knee, or hip injury or inflammation.
Modifications: A) Place a folded blanket underneath the hip of the bent knee to keep the hips level. B) Use yoga blocks under the hands. C) Adjust the level of stretch in the hips by how close the foot of the bent knee is to the hips; bring it closer to the hips for less stretch, slide it away for more stretch.
Variations: A) Lead with the chest as you exhale forward, coming into Extended Pigeon. B) Bring the hands to the front bent knee, lifting yourself up a little higher. C) Interlace the fingers behind your back, squeezing the shoulder blades together. D) Inhale the arms over your head, in a H position, palms together with thumbs crossed, or interlace the fingers and point the index finger.