A few days a go, a friend of mine asked me to post a few yoga stretches that would help him after a workout. Today, I will discuss Supta Kapotasana, or Supine Pigeon Pose, also known as Figure Four.
Supine Pigeon is a posture to stretch the back of the hips, the piriformis, and it relieves sciatica. The piriformis is a muscle that is often tight on runners. This stretch is especially good after running, using the stair stepper, or the elliptical.
Follow the steps below to perform this wonderful hip opener.
- Lie one your back with your left knee bent and your left sole of your foot on the floor. Keep your head and shoulders on the ground. Try to relax your neck and shoulders.
- Cross the right ankle over the left thigh, making a figure four with your legs.
- Keep the right foot flexed, place your hands behind your left hamstring muscles, inhale completely, and exhale pulling the left leg closer to the body. It is very important to keep your right foot flexed.
- Hold for 30-90 seconds, and repeat on the other side for the same duration.
Deeping the Posture
To deepen the stretch, practice PNF Stretching, or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. That means you use isometric contractions, then release the contraction for a greater stretch. Follow these steps to deepen your stretch:
- In the case of Supta Kapotasana, with your right leg crossed over your left thigh, on the inhale press your right leg into your left thigh and your left thigh into your right leg.
- Hold the contraction on the inhale, and release the contraction when you exhale.
- You will find a lot more flexibility in your right hip when you hold a contraction and then release it.
- Repeat on the other side with the same intensity and duration.