Downward Facing Pigeon Yoga Pose

Downward Facing Pigeon Yoga Pose is a forward bend pose that targets the glutes and hips and is ideal for yogis and yoginis at a beginner to intermediate level.

svadisthana – the sacral chakra
anahata – the heart chakra
ajna – the third eye chakra
related poses
How To Do Downward Facing Pigeon Yoga Pose
  1. Begin in Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Keeping your right foot firmly planted, lift your left foot off the ground and into the air behind you. Open up your left knee, then straighten out the left leg behind you.
    Lean forward, shifting most of your weight toward your hands, and begin to draw your knee underneath your body as you bend your leg. Do this a couple times, extending your leg back behind you each time, until you can comfortably bring your knee as close to your hands as possible.
  2. Place your bent left knee between your hands, the outside of the right lower-leg pressed on the floor. Be sure that your leg is not bent in half under your body so that your foot is trapped underneath you; instead, your inner left thigh should be opened up with your left foot sticking out of the right side of your body, resting on its outside ankle. Your toes should be facing away from your torso. Examine the placement of your hands. Arms should be straight and roughly shoulder-width apart, palms down and fingers spread out on the floor.
  3. Extend strongly through your right leg, feeling the stretch run in a straight line through to your big toe. Begin to walk your hands forward, holding the position when you feel the stretch in the upper thigh of your bent leg. If you’re comfortable, continue to lower yourself until you are resting on your elbows and forearms, palms pressed together with fingers pointing directly in front of you. If this position isn’t bringing much discomfort either, continue into the full pose by stretching out your arms straight in front of you, shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers on the floor, palms down, and touch your forehead to the floor if possible.
  4. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, taking controlled breaths. To come out, bring your hands back toward your body, pushing on your palms to lift the weight off of your leg, then unfold the bent leg and come back to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat on the other side.
  • Breathe deeply through each step.
  • Avoid this pose if you have a knee or leg injury, or consult a healthcare professional.
  • There are several ways you may start Downward Facing Pigeon. If you have problems with Downward Facing Dog, try starting out in Child Pose (Balasana). From here move one knee forward, then continue on from step 3.

Your knee muscles will likely provide resistance, preventing you from deepening the pose as far as the rest of your body can allow. Try adding other knee stretches to your routine so that you may get the most out this pose and other poses that require knee flexibility.
If you wish to deepen the pose further and have great hip and leg flexibility, try moving the position of your bent leg so that the ankle and knee are horizontal, foot sticking straight out from the body. This variation may not be possible for everyone, regardless of flexibility.

Stretches & Strengthens

All Muscles: Quads, hips, knees, gluteal muscles

Target Muscles: Glutes, hips

Health Benefits of Downward Facing Pigeon Yoga Pose
  • Increases flexibility.

Sanskrit Name & Meaning

Sanskrit Name & Meaning

Adho Mukha Kapotasana

(AH-doh MOO-kah cop-poh-TAHS-anna)

adho: downward
mukha: face, facing
kapota: pigeon, dove
asana: posture

History & Mythology

History & Mythology

There’s gotta be some history or mythology on this pose! We’ve looked high and low and have only come up with this message. Perhaps you have some information or resource for us to explore?