Sunday, September 20, 2015

Hands free pigeon (Don't Let The Pigeon Drive Your Brain)

Fuller version of eka pada rajakapotasana
I wanted to call this don't eat the pigeon messenger after I received a record number of emails from last week's post.  I mean the internet almost broke with the sudden upsurge!

Okay, that might be an exaggeration.

But a few things I learned from people's responses.

It seems many people are very attached to their pigeon pose and do not want to let it go.  Little pigeon protests were erupting in people's brains.

A pigeon protest

Many people have been doing it for years and may not have been able to 'move on' to something different.   A lot of people saying "I can't" before they have even tried.

I suppose some questions I think about are if you have been doing the same thing for years, which while they might feel good while you are in them, do not seem to have demonstrable carry-over to times outside of class it is possibly a good opportunity to reflect on a lot of things.

This could include: what are you doing in your daily life that means you are stuck in this cycle? Are you doing the pose in an effective manner?

These types of questions apply to any posture or any 'thing' really that we perceive as good for us but which somehow is not having the desired effect I suppose.

Don't let the pigeon drive your brain!
So yesterday I practiced pigeon for the first time in a long time and recorded it for posterity.  I did it 'hands-free' so that there was no labouring or pulling or pushing or straining to get into the posture.  I have a better indication then that I am okay in this posture.

Take a look at the video and have a think.  If you cannot come from standing to a squat to sit on the floor without hands, just try starting on the floor.  If you cannot sit comfortably on the floor in cross-legged without your hands supporting you for some way then that in itself is a good sign you are going to struggle with pigeon and maybe choose another posture (like my active standing variation!).

That afternoon I went to circus class and, co-incidentally, they taught me a sequence of active movements that had me end up in an inverted and flying variation of the pigeon pose!

This sort of posture is only possible with active movements, particularly in that top leg where I am actively gripping behind the knee to create firmness, trying to externally rotate top thigh and internally rotate and extend bottom leg, and make sure I am lengthening my spine rather than squashing it to do the backbend.

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