Art & Om: Cow Face Pose to Double Pigeon Pose

Art & Om is our weekly collaborative project with Karma Yoga Denton. We will explore Denton's art scene and also give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to master new yoga poses. We want to encourage you to get out and support the local arts, with a little flexibility.

Pose: Cow Face Pose to Double Pigeon Pose
Mural: Off Fry Street by Subway
Model: Keren

We are going to give the outer hips some serious love in this week’s installment of Art & Om. Our hips can get so tight from sitting and standing all day, and the hips are where we hold all the emotional junk that we carry with us.

Begin by sitting cross legged with the right calf on top, and then draw the right knee on top of the left and the heels in line with the hips. The placement of the heels can also vary with how tight the hips are, so don’t fret if everything isn’t in perfect alignment. Make sure to keep the feet flexed, pressing through the ball of the foot. If there is a generous amount of space between the knees, that is totally okay as well. Our bodies are built differently from each other, we each have a unique skeletal structure, and that is what makes our own variations of the postures so personal and special.

The key thing to remember is – trust the process.

Now that we have the legs stacked, we will move onto the arms. Reach the left hand behind you, and then by bending the elbow, bring the back of the hand to the middle area of the back. Extend the right hand overhead, and by bending the elbow, allow the palm to find the space between the shoulder blades. You can create a bind by interlocking the fingers, or use a strap by grasping the prop in both hands. This makes our limbs longer, and helps us achieve the desired sensation from the pose. If you do not have a strap available to you, just reach the fingers towards each other. Whichever variation you find, keep hugging the right shoulder down and back, and lift up through the crown of the head with each inhale. When you are ready, on an exhale, fold down and in over the stacked knees. Send the breath to the hips, using each inhale to help unknot the tension that has settled there.

A great pose to transition into is firelog pose or double pigeon. As you lift up out of Go Mukasana, bring each ankle on top and just outside the opposite knee. This creates a little box with the thighs and shins. If the shines do not lay flat, and it feels like you could fit a continent between the knee and the ankle, this is completely okay. Our hips can get so tight, that it takes a fair amount of stretching to reach the desired result. What is important is that you feel the sensation of the stretch in the outer hips. The feeling we get from our breath moving through the muscles is the goal of any pose, not to recreate the posture in every detail.  If you want to take this pose deeper, you can extend the hands to the ground in front of you and fold over the legs. Happy hips to you yogis!