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What Is Your Pigeon Pose?


At my first yoga class I was introduced to the hip-opening pose known as "pigeon." This pose is typically uncomfortable for everyone. For some, it can be downright painful (raises hand). Yogic wisdom teaches that the hip area is the heart of relationships and represents our union with everything around us.
As I held that first pigeon pose, I struggled against the pain, my body shaking and my breathing shallow. I cursed silently and prayed the instructor would soon announce the next pose. The seconds ticked slowly by until the instructor spoke again. Only she did not announce the next pose - instead she spoke a gentle admonishment. "Breathe into this pose," she said. "Do not fight against it, rather accept it. Imagine that each breath is bringing release to your hips. Imagine that each breath gently loosens and relaxes your body."

I quieted my mind and tried to heed the instructor's advice. I immediately felt my hips relax and I was able to bend more deeply into the pose. It was never comfortable, but I found I was able to actually kind of enjoy pigeon pose when I gave over to it. As I stretched further in, I thought, "What a metaphor for life!" 

What if we viewed our emotional discomfort, grief, or less-than-ideal situations as our lives' pigeon poses? What if we breathed into them instead of wishing them away or trying obsessively to control them? What would we learn about ourselves? What would we open up?

Take some time today to meditate and take stock - what is your life's pigeon pose? What do you need to breathe into? What do you need to let go of? Who do you need to forgive? Acceptance is the first step in healing.

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