The Sanskrit name for pigeon pose is Eka Pada Kapotasana; this is a pose practiced in many forms of Hatha yoga. The translation of this pose is pigeon pose due the puffing up of the chest when it is practiced- much like the puffing up of the chest of a pigeon. There are many different variations and definitions for this pose (depending on the style of yoga being practiced.}
How to practice modified pigeon pose
Practice this pose by lying on the back, head neck and shoulders resting on the mat. Then bend the knees, place the feet on the ground, hip distance apart. Cross the right ankle just below the left knee (where the femur bone connects with the knee. Flex the right toes and push the knee away from you. If your hips are more open, you may be able to place the right hand through the triangle that the right leg makes, bring the left hand around the left leg, and clasp behind the thigh or in front of the shin. Pull the left leg in to the body as you use muscle energy to press the right knee away from the body. Take 5-10 deep breaths, then repeat on the left side.
Additional variations of pigeon pose
A more advanced variation of this pose is practiced by starting in downward dog or on all fours, then step the right foot forward into lunge; move the right foot toward to left hand and drop the knee out to the right, toward the ground. Try to keep the shin parallel to the top of the mat,, (if your hips are tight, you will not be able to get the shin parallel to the top of the mat, you will most likely have to pull the heel closer in toward the groin area). Then draw the right hip back and the left hip forward so that you are squaring the hips to the front of the mat. If your right hip drops much lower to the earth then the left when you release, then you will need to place a blanet underneath the right hip. The goal is for both hips to be on the same level. It is important to protect your knee by flexing your right toes. Make sure that you extend your left leg back, keep the toes in line with the ankle and roll the inner left thigh to the sky. Stay here or lay the belly over the legs and breath for 5-15 deep ujjai breaths.
Tips when practicing
Here are images of variations of pigeon pose.