I can get in to the first part of flying pigeon with my foot off the ground, but have a lot of trouble extending my leg. My foot wants to always slip off my arm when I try to extend the top leg. I’m trying to figure out what my main problem is. I am wondering if it’s mainly that my hip flexability is just not good enough yet to allow the foot to stay on the upper arm. Basically when I sit in double pigeon, my top knee is about 6 inches away from my bottom knee on my good side, more like 10 inches on my bad side. Do you think that my hip flexability is my main limitation at this point?
Hi Antigone! It’s hard to assess without seeing your practice, but here are a couple tips to try! Are your arms quite bent? The foot can easily slip off if the arms are too straight (rather than acting as a shelf). Bend your elbows so that the shin is pressing down into the arm rather than diagonally “down” the arm. Also, are you actively wrapping your toes around your upper arm? I have to use my toes like a little monkey in order to keep my foot from sliding off.
All that said, hip range of motion (ROM) is undoubtedly a component of this pose. Keep working on poses like thread the needle and forward folding pigeon. Since you can get your foot off the ground though, I feel like you’re close! Try the tips above and let us know how it goes
Thanks very much for the response - this is very helpful.
The tip about pressing down in to the arm rather than diagonally makes sense and I will try this next time - it may be part of the problem. I am hooking the toes around the arm pretty hard, and I think i’m bending my arms enough. But I will work on these things.
This pose for me feels like “I’m so close, yet so far away”! it feels pretty easy to get the foot off the ground, pretty impossible to extend the leg out without falling. But I’ll keep working on it
Many thanks for your help.
One more trick : to leverage the leg back, I need to reach my chest forward a LOT to counter balance. Look forward to hearing how it goes!
Ugh - not very good progress today.
But…I think that I figured out that my main limitation on the left is indeed a flexability problem because today when I was focussing on gripping my arm with my toes, I found that I couldn’t effectively do that on the left. So I think that it’s pointless to try and extend the leg on the left until I get more range. Would you agree with that?
But, this is not the main issue on the right since I can grip my arm with my toes pretty good. I don’t really know what the problem is - I watch videos and it looks so easy. I put a pillow down today and that has helped (since I’m face planting when falling forward out of it). That back leg feels so heavy - like I need it tucked in for support while I’m in the pose with my toes off the ground. So maybe there is some problem with that since when I go to take that leg away and extend it, I feel so unstable. I’m just not really sure.
PS Rachel I really think you’re one of the best teachers on this site and I’ve often wished you had more intermediate advanced videos. I love your yoga style very much.