I posted the photo at the top of this page - of flying pigeon or eka pada galavasana - on my Instagram recently. And then had a few requests for tips on how to actually get into it.... Sorry guys- that's what I should have done first time round! Anyway, here's my five steps for working towards getting that back foot off the floor in this posture. Before you begin warm up the outside of your hips with thread the needle or pigeon prep pose, and make sure your arms will be able to support your weight by checking you've got a solid chaturanga dandasana/ low plank position (see my earlier post on chaturanga if you're unsure!). And back off if anything (especially your top knee) hurts.
1. Take your weight on to your right foot, lift your left leg and flex that foot (ie draw your toes back towards your shin). Place the outside of your left ankle above your right knee. Bend your standing leg a little and start to move your hips back. Hands in prayer (photo 1)
2. Sit lower by bending your standing knee and moving your hips back. Keep your top foot flexed. If the stretch in your top hip starts to get too intense stop where you are. Otherwise move towards touching your forearms to your top shin. Stopping whenever you need to, work towards bringing fingertips on to the floor (photo 2)
3. Flex your left foot around your right arm, so that your toes kind of wrap around the outside of your upper arm. Bring your hands flat on to the floor. Work your arms underneath your top leg until your shin is in your armpits (photo 3)
4. Move your hands a step forwards. Draw your shoulders down your back, keep your elbows in by your sides and grip the floor with your fingertips. Start to take more weight on your hands (photo 4)
5. Keep moving your weight forwards until your back foot gets so light it can lift. You may find you need to play with shifting your weight back and forth from hands to foot for a while to get used to it before you can lift your foot. Look forwards, not down! (photo 5)
Then once you've mastered each of these steps, the next stage is to start straightening your top leg towards the full posture (see here if you're not sure what that looks like). Repeat on the other side ✨