Spring always feels like a new beginning and a clean, fresh start. Just like cleaning our house of all the dust and grime that accumulated during winter, spring allows us to cleanse our mind and body and start anew. I love feeling the warmth of the sun and the smell of the buds after a fresh rain. It reminds me that everything comes full circle. Life is a cycle.
As much as I await the first day of spring, I hate that the weather is changing. I resist change. I hate when my routine is broken or I have to go in a different path that I wasn’t ready for. I use the excuse because I was born in May, a classic stubborn Taurus. I feel I need more time to adjust and let things settle. Either are just excuses. I’ve learned to embrace change through various methods and support. I started practicing yoga and Pilates because they are great physical workouts. However, through my classes, teachers, readings and more, I learned how to embrace what most of us resist. We resist things that are uncomfortable and appear difficult. Pigeon pose and deep open hip movements are those such things, because most don’t like it-it hurts or is just simply not fun. However, the more I kept coming back to yoga and the more I did the pose, I started to feel the shape of my body and understand why I hated Pigeon pose so much. Our hips hold deep rooted emotions, stuff that happened to us along the way in our life that we never fully released. We hold deep negative patterns and resistance in our hips. So when we do stretches like Pigeon (which open them up) these emotions and negative patterns come out. I cried out of nowhere each time but learned that it was ok to release.
During pregnancy and childbirth, our hips and ligaments around the pelvis open up and stretch to make room for our growing baby. So naturally, negative patterns appear and want to release. The deep emotions we kept inside release out of us. It’s a huge relief, but really, really scary! Pregnancy is a unique opportunity to embrace change. Changing our negative patterns to more positive ones is a great example; such as paying a bit more attention to yourself, listening to your instincts or not allowing anyone to treat you negatively. The more you release, the easier Pigeon pose becomes (seriously!). When you let the emotions out and embrace the changes within you and around you, you can let the new in. You can allow the goodness to fill you and the changes won’t look or seem so hard.
Pigeon Pose (eka pada raja kapotasana) (aa-KAH pah-DAH rah-JAH-cop-poh-TAHS-anna)
eka = one
pada = foot or leg
raja = king
kapota = pigeon or dove
Pigeon pose stretches the internal and external hip rotators as well as the hip flexors. It requires internal rotation of the back leg as well as external rotation of the front leg, which are excellent to keep the hip joint healthy. You will find with consistent practice that you will have increased suppleness of the hip and pelvic region, thus relieving back pain and hip pain.
2. Bring the right knee to the right wrist and the right ankle to the left wrist. If it is too intense take your foot closer to your pelvis, eventually you will begin to parallel the shin to the front of your mat. Just take it one step at a time!
3. Slide the left leg straight back, internally rotating the leg to stretch into the front hip flexor.
OPTION: use props under the right hip if you are elevated off the ground such as a folded blanket or block.
4. Inhale and exhale slowly walk your hands out in front of you, relaxing into the pose. The more you breathe deeply, the more you release, and the easier it becomes. Hold for a minimum of 8 deep breaths.
6. Repeat on the left side.
Cindy Cornelis is Yoga Alliance Certified via Laughing Lotus NYC and Prenatal Certified via YogaWorks NYC. She also completed her Restorative yoga training with Jillian Pransky. Cindy is Pilates certified thru Pilates Academy International (Pilates on 5th), NYC. Cindy is the creator of Durga Baby™ a comprehensive pre- and post-natal program focusing on the various stages of early motherhood. She continues to consult for a leading orthopedic company, with a focus in spine. Her classes are uplifting and invigorating. Participants will enjoy individualized attention with focus on protecting and strengthening the body through proper alignment and movement.