Last week we did hip-openers, which meant one of my more advanced evening classes worked on Eka Pada Rajakapostasana (Pigeon...technically, One-Foot King Pigeon Pose). It's pretty hit or miss because of the level of flexibility it requires in the hips and thighs. I try to get students to start in a lunge position (out of Down Dog), so as not to screw up hips or knee joints and then we settle onto a blanket to keep the pelvis balanced. Some students are respectful of their level of (in)flexibility in this pose, some need a gentle reminder not to corkscrew the spine trying to get the hips down.
Whatever...we did Warrior I and Hero to lengthen the front thighs, Down Dog to open the back thighs, Up Dog and Cow's Head to open the chest and Bound Angle to open up the hips. And then Pigeon. After all that, we stood up and released into an easy Triangle, not fussing too much about alignment, and just letting arms and legs extend and lengthening the spine. Hmmm, Triangle seemed so easy, so effortless and many of my students slid their hands farther down their legs than usual without losing the line up of the pelvis and spine. What up?
I looked back to an old post I wrote about the mechanics of Triangle. I'm guessing the extreme opening of the thighs and hips that happens in Pigeon, translates to a much looser pelvis area. This means you can keep the thighs rolled out more easily, while tipping the pelvis and torso to the side more deeply in Trikonasana. Who knew.
I always love learning new links between asana. It's a way to keep sequencing interesting, but also reveals the architecture of each pose. Do you have any surprising pose connections you'd care to share? Worms to Spice?
(Apologies to Frank Herbert...)