Getting into Pigeon
Begin in down dog. Bend your right knee as you slide it to the outside of your right wrist. If you are tight in the outer hips your shin will be at a diagonal; press the top of the foot into the ground to stabilize your knee. With increasing hip mobility, your shin will become more parallel with the front of the mat; keep your knee safe in this variation by flexing your foot . Be mindful to stay off the right hip. Check that your back leg is going straight back from the sit bone.
Contract + Release
I like to contract my leg muscles or "hug my knees toward one another" for three breaths, then release and relax into a deeper stretch for three breaths (or longer). You can do this 1-3 times while working with your breath.
If your front knee feels good (no pinching sensations) and it is appropriate for your back, consider twisting your pigeon. Moving slowing, twist toward the front leg from the low ribs and higher. Use the obliques to move into the twist rather than your arms. This can be done upright or from your forearms. Add in a bind to open up your shoulder.
Yep, you read that right. :) Stand behind your couch (or counter) and bring your shin on top of it. Keep your foot flexed and engage your leg muscles to draw the knee down. Consider sliding the outer hip of the lifted leg back to neutralize your hips. Breathe and continue on with your show.
I hope you find a version that your body loves. Cheers to more space in your hips and spine!
In Happiness + Health, Jody