Swan Pose - Excellent Stretch Yoga Pose For Everyone

Our pose of the week for this week is one that has a few different names, but no matter what you call it, the benefits are still there. The swan pose, otherwise known as the sleeping swan pose, pigeon pose, or Kapotasana Ii, is a yoga pose that provides an excellent stretch for anyone who practices. 

The swan pose can be practiced by anyone and everyone at varying degrees, so it is perfect to include in any flow. This article will take a look at some of the many benefits of the pose, how to properly do it, some tips and tricks to consider, and some modifications and variations of the pose. Let’s take a look at what the swan pose has to offer.

Benefits Of The Swan Pose

Just like all other yoga poses, there are several benefits associated with the swan pose. We will take a how practicing this pose can benefit you and your practice. Let’s get started.

  • It is a great hip opening stretch. If you are like so many other people, you probably have rather tight hip flexors. This means that it can be difficult, or even painful, to practice some poses in yoga. However, if you practice the pigeon, or swan, pose, then your hips will open up more and more. If you practice regularly, your hips will be more flexible, less tense, and won’t hurt nearly as bad when trying different poses.
  • It can help you relax both your mind and body. The pose, itself, is a very calming one, and if you stay in it for a while and breathe deeply, both your mind and your body will relax and feel more at ease. It is an excellent pose for yin yoga, before bedtime yoga, or at the end of any flow. 
  • It can help to relieve tension from your lower back. Besides opening your hips, this stretch is great for relieving any tension you might carry in your hips and lower back. If you suffer from low back pain, then you may want to try this pose at least a few times a week. It can really help, especially if you lead a rather sedentary lifestyle or work on the computer all day. 
  • It can increase your range of motion in your hip. While this may not seem like something you need or even want, it can be very beneficial to have more range of motion, as it can help you in other activities or sports. It is also important because as you get older, you won’t become stiff and have a low range of motion.

You can check this instructional video from Sally Sweet Life 

As you can see, there are several benefits to incorporating this pose into your yoga routine, or even doing this stretch solo. Now let’s take a look at how to do the pose correctly to ensure that you can reap the benefits.

How To Correctly Do The Swan Pose

To ensure that you are doing the pose correctly, we are going to lay out step by step instructions for you to follow. Let’s take a look at how to safely and effectively do the swan pose.

  1. Begin in a tabletop position (on all fours). Ensure that your wrists are directly below your shoulders and knees directly below your hips. 
  2. Bring your right knee up toward your right wrist and place your right foot behind your left wrist so that your leg is at an angle. 
  3. Stretch your back leg straight back behind you so that your toes are pointed toward the back edge of your mat. This is the swan pose, so you can stay here for a nice hip stretch, or continue for the sleeping swan pose.
  4. To move into the sleeping swan pose, you can stretch your arms out in front of you and bring your forearms to the mat. 
  5. Go down as far as you can while keeping your hips aligned. If possible, rest your forehead on your mat.
  6. Stay in this position and breathe deeply for 5-8 breaths.
  7. Repeat on the opposite side.

Tips & Tricks For The Swan Pose

Here are some tips and tricks to get you into the right position:

  • Focus on keeping your hips in line with the front of the mat, not on getting your front leg out further. Many people think the point of the stretch is getting your front leg into a 90 degree bend. However, it is better to keep your heel closer in toward your body than sacrificing your hip placement. 
  • Make sure that your back leg isn’t bent or pointing toward the side of your mat. Take a look behind you and ensure that your back leg is pointing straight back toward the back edge of your mat. This is to ensure that your alignment is correct and that your knee is protected from injury, as well as your hips.
Check this video from our favorite Yoga instructor Adriene 

Modifications & Variations For Swan Pose

While there are not many variations of this pose besides staying seated and lying forward into a sleeping swan pose, there are some modifications you can take to make yourself more comfortable in the pose. Let’s look at those:

  • If you can’t reach your forehead to the ground, try stacking your arms on top of one another and resting your head on top of them. This will alleviate some of the intense stretch, yet still allow you to feel and enjoy it. You can also use a yoga block or bolster under your forehead for added support.
  • If your front knee hurts, place a bolster or a blanket underneath your hip to alleviate the pain. If your knee still hurts after that, then you probably shouldn’t practice this pose. Yoga is not about pushing yourself to the extreme, but about listening to your body.

The swan pose/pigeon pose/sleeping swan pose is an amazing way to open up your hips and get a nice, calming stretch in. Be sure to avoid any poses that hurt or are uncomfortable, and take the proper steps to ensure that you are doing the pose correctly. Namaste, friends!