Flying Pigeon Pose

Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana) – Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners

Welcome to our guide on the Flying Pigeon Pose! I’m Dav Jones, here to help you with your yoga practice. Whether you’re new or looking to improve, we’re focusing on the Flying Pigeon Pose today. I’ll cover its benefits, how to do it safely step-by-step, and some variations. If you want to grow in your yoga asana practice, you’re in the right place. Let’s start this journey together.

Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana)

Mastering the Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana) is a rewarding challenge that enhances balance, strength, and flexibility in your yoga practice. This advanced pose not only tests your physical limits but also boosts focus and poise. But before diving into our step-by-step guide first know what stretches we need to do before attempting flying pigeon pose.

Stretches Before Attempting Flying Pigeon Pose

Before attempting this pose, it’s crucial to warm up and prepare your body sufficiently. Warm-up the wrists sufficiently (10/15 minutes) before beginning the steps below.

This preparation will help ensure a safer practice and make it easier to enter the pose. Here’s how you can get started.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) 

A key pose for strengthening, stretching, and warming up the body, focusing on the shoulders, hamstrings, and calves.

Downward Facing Dog

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

A key preparatory pose that opens the hips and prepares them for the deep hip flexion and hip external rotation required in Flying Pigeon.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

Deeply stretches the hip flexors, hamstrings, and adductor muscles, preparing the hips for the complexities of the Flying Pigeon Pose.

Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

Plank Pose

A foundational exercise that strengthens the core, arms, and shoulders, while also enhancing stability and posture.

Plank Pose

Boat Pose (Navasana)

Specifically targets the core muscles and hip flexors, improving balance and stability which are crucial for arm balance postures.

Boat Pose (Navasana)

Crow Pose (Kakasana)

A foundational arm balance that builds the strength and confidence needed for more advanced poses like Flying Pigeon.

Crow Pose

Understanding the Key Muscles Involved

  • Gluteus muscles and hip flexors: Contracting the Gluteus Maximus muscle is essential for lifting and supporting the rear leg in the pose.
  • Core muscles (including the rectus abdominis and obliques): Provide stability and balance.
  • Arm and shoulder muscles (including the deltoids, triceps, and biceps): Isometrically adduct the arms to receive support for the body’s weight during the balance.
  • Serratus Anterior Muscles: One of the biggest shoulder blade muscles that stabilises the shoulder blade. Aim to protract (shoulder blades moving away from the spine) the shoulder blades to activate these muscles for poses like Flying Pigeon Pose.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana)

The Flying pigeon pose (Eka Pada Galavasana) is designed to elevate your balance, flexibility, and concentration. Now, let’s go through how to do the Flying Pigeon Pose step by step.

As a side note, before attempting the below sequence please warm up your wrists thoroughly making sure the wrists feel strong and mobile to support your body weight.

Step 1: Tadasana (The Mountain Pose)

Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is the cornerstone of all standing yoga poses, including the preparatory step for advancing into the Flying Pigeon Pose. It’s a seemingly simple pose that teaches the fundamentals of presence, and focused breathing, essential to prepare and ready yourself for the asana practice ahead.

Tadasana (The Mountain Pose)

Starting your journey into the Flying Pigeon Pose begins from the foundational Standing Position, also known as Tadasana. Here’s how to set this initial stage with precision and mindfulness:

  • Feet Position: Stand with feet together or hip-width apart, grounding yourself firmly. This stability is essential for the balance in Flying Pigeon Pose.
  • Body Alignment: Engage your legs and core, keeping your spine long and shoulders relaxed. This alignment supports the transition into Flying Pigeon Pose.
  • Breath Focus: Maintain deep, even breaths. This focused breathing calms your mind, preparing you for the Flying Pigeon Pose’s demands.

Step 2: Figure Four Posture

After establishing a strong foundation in Tadasana, move into Figure Four Posture as your next step towards mastering the Flying Pigeon Pose. This pose stretches your outer hips, back body, and also tests your balance.

Figure Four Posture

Primarily, this pose stretches your outer hip muscles and prepares the hips for the necessary mobility that Flying Pigeon Pose demands.

  • Transition: Bring one hip/leg into flexion and cross the ankle over the opposite thigh. Bend the standing leg, sitting into the hips.
  • Legs: Press the crossed leg down to the standing thigh.
  • Arms: Place your hands together in anjali mudra.
  • Gaze/Eyes: Focus at a fixed point to maintain balance.
  • Breathing: Deepen your fold with each exhale, enhancing flexibility in preparation for the Flying Pigeon Pose.

Step 3: Entering the Pose

Entering the Flying Pigeon Pose requires patience and practice. Focus on maintaining a steady breath as you move through these steps. This phase is crucial for setting up the correct alignment and balance needed to fully achieve the Flying Pigeon Pose, building strength and flexibility in the process.

After establishing a strong foundation in Tadasana and the Figure Four pose, the next step towards mastering the Flying Pigeon Pose involves entering the pose with mindfulness and precision.

  • Hooking One Leg Across The Arms: From the forward fold, lift one leg and place it over the opposite thigh of the standing leg just above the knee – creating a figure-four shape with your legs.
  • Bend Forward to Place Your Hands on the Ground: Keep your hands shoulder-width apart, fingers slightly turned outward.
  • Shift Your Weight Forward: Begin to transfer your weight onto your hands while keeping the crossed-legged foot flexed and hooked around the arm.
  • Round Your Spine and Hug Your Elbows in: This action provides the stability and strength needed from the foundation of the pose.
  • Feel the Contraction of Your Core as you lean forward and Lift Your Rear Foot Off the Ground: Try to straighten out the rear knee lifting the rear foot upwards towards the ceiling/sky.

Step 4: Extending the Back Leg

Extending the back leg not only prepares your body for the advanced stages of the Flying Pigeon Pose but also enhances your overall balance, strength, and flexibility. It’s a vital step that bridges all the previous steps in the above sequence and the hand balance to come.

Flying Pigeon Pose

After establishing a strong foundation in Entering the pose, the next step towards mastering the Flying Pigeon Pose involves extending the back leg. This movement is crucial for building the strength and flexibility required for the pose.

  • Slowly Extend Your Rear Leg Straight Back Behind You: Remember to keep hugging your arms towards each other and round your spine.
  • Keep Your Gaze Fixed on a Focused Point for Balance: This helps maintain concentration and stability.
  • Engage Your Muscles: Keep the continuous adduction of your arms. This ensures a strong and stable foundation. Perhaps the most important aspect of the pose is this which ensures the stability of the posture.
  • Hold the Pose for 3-5 Breaths: Focus on maintaining balance, strength, and poise in the pose with a constant steady breath.
  • Tips for Maintaining Balance and Alignment: Keep your gaze fixed, breathe calmly, and move into the posture mindfully with steadiness and ease.

Exiting the Pose

  • Carefully Lower Your Back Leg to the Ground: Start to reverse the steps you took to enter the pose.
  • Return to a Standing Position and Repeat on the Ppposite side: Shake out your legs and arms if needed, then prepare to repeat on the opposite side.

By following these detailed steps, you’ll be able to approach the Flying Pigeon Pose with confidence and safety, gradually building up your strength and balance to master this challenging asana.

Tips and Modified Pigeon Pose for Beginners

Modifications for Beginners

  • Use a Block: Place a yoga block under the hands to elevate your upper body if you’re unable to reach the ground comfortably. This helps maintain balance as you work on flexibility.
  • Start with a Chair: Practice the figure-four position while seated in a chair to get used to the leg position without worrying about balancing on your hands.
  • Keep the Back Foot on the Ground: Instead of lifting the back leg, keep your toes on the ground to help maintain balance as you build strength.
Flying Pigeon Pose Yoga Benefits
  • Enhances Balance and Focus: Balancing on the hands with the legs lifted requires concentration and mental focus, which can help improve mental clarity.
  • Builds Strength: Strengthens the arms, shoulders, and core muscles.
  • Improves Flexibility: Opens the hips and stretches the thighs, groin, and back muscles.
  • Stimulates the Abdominal Organs: Can aid in digestion and elimination.

Precautions and Contraindications

  • Wrist or Shoulder Injuries: Avoid if you have current or recent injuries in these areas.
  • Pregnancy: Not recommended due to the balance and core strength required.
  • Hip Issues: Those with severe hip problems should proceed cautiously or avoid this pose.
  • High Blood Pressure: Consult a healthcare provider or a yoga instructor for modifications or alternative poses.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Good Practice Tips:
  • Core Engagement: Always engage your core to stabilize the pose.
  • Shoulder Stability: Keep arms adducting isometrically, and avoid collapsing; push the ground away.
  • Hip Alignment: Warm up the hips thoroughly in preparation for Flying Pigeon Pose
Avoid Strain and Injury
  • Proper Warm-Up: Begin with a thorough warm-up focusing on the wrists, hips, spine, and shoulders.
  • Listen to Your Body: Heed pain signals and modify or exit the pose as needed.
  • Gradual Progression: Build strength and flexibility over time; use props and modifications.
  • Lower Back Care: Avoid overarching by engaging lower abdominals and maintaining a slight pelvic tilt.
  • Wrist Health: Strengthen and stretch wrists regularly; distribute weight evenly across hands.

Final Thought

This is not just a physical challenge it’s a step towards deeper yoga practice, blending strength with grace. Approach it with patience and mindfulness, and see your practice soar. Looking for more guidance or inspiration? Follow Dav Jones Yoga on Instagram for daily tips, Connect with Dav Jones Yoga on the Patreon channel or have a look at the DJY Mentorship programs for a more private, tailored approach to exploring your yoga practice.

Here is the preparatory class that mobilizes the hips for Flying Pigeon Pose

FAQs

  1. What is the Flying Pigeon Pose?
    The Flying Pigeon Pose, or Eka Pada Galavasana, is an advanced yoga asana of the hand-balance family. This posture focuses on balance, strength, and flexibility, resembling the shape of a flying pigeon.
  2. Why should I practice the Flying Pigeon Pose?
    Practicing the Flying Pigeon Pose helps improve your balance, strengthens the lower body, increases hip flexibility, and stimulates the abdominal organs.
  3. What are the prerequisites for the Flying Pigeon Pose?
    Before attempting the Flying Pigeon Pose, having a solid foundation in hand balance poses such as the Plank Pose, Chaturanga, and Crow pose is essential. Having sufficient hip mobility will help considerably in your efforts for Flying Pigeon Pose.
  4. How do I prepare for the Flying Pigeon Pose?
    To prepare, focus on a wrist warm-up first, then proceed to hip-opening postures and strengthening your arms and core. A thorough warm-up is essential to prevent injuries.
  5. What are common mistakes in the Flying Pigeon Pose?
    Common mistakes in this pose include inadequate warm-up, reduced mobility in the hips and an un-focused mind can limit your practice potential.

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