This stretch is from Guyoga, our beginner’s yoga system for men. Join our All Access Pass to unlock all of our premium training videos, including Guyoga.
Men often have a hard time with pigeon pose because of tight hips. The easiest way to create more ease and comfort in Pigeon Pose when you have overly tight or limited mobility in the hips and thighs is to place some kind of support under your hips. A pillow or a block works great for this. Simply place the support under the hip that is unable to fully rest on the ground. This allows you to safely rest your weight into your hips while working at your own level of mobility. To do this, place the block on its low or middle height (depending on your needs) beneath your right glutes if your right leg is forward. You will still want to keep your weight evenly distributed through both hips, so don’t put all of your weight on the block.
Men and beginners in general who are particularly tight in the hips should be careful about easing into the pose and about putting too much weight into the hips. To distribute some of the weight, beginners can use the ground to help support body weight. For even more support, use blocks to raise the height of the ground. This will help lessen some of the weight on the hips.
If you are struggling with an inflexible back in this pose, walk your hands forward letting your torso fold down toward the ground. You can rest on your forearms or, if you have the flexibility, let your chest and belly rest on your front leg with your arms outstretched on the ground overhead. Let your forehead rest on a block or on the floor, respectively.
Lastly, the Reclined Figure Four Stretch is another variation that can be practiced if you have excessive back tension. This pose is performed lying on your back on the ground, and provides additional support to the back. To do this pose, begin by lying on your back with your knees bent to the sky and your feet planted on the ground in front of your hips. Your arms can rest at your sides. Place the outside of your left ankle just above the right knee making a figure 4 shape with your legs. Reach through your legs to clasp your hands behind your right thigh, and gently pull your legs toward your chest. Keep your lower back on the ground. Press the left knee forward (away from the body) to increase the stretch. Press the toes of the left foot toward the left to activate the ball of the foot. Repeat on the other side.