I think that the risk of injury to the knee and hip joint from practicing pigeon pose is not worth the possible benefits. If stretching the deep rotators of the hips is what one is trying to accomplish here, it can be done supine in figure 4 or supine gomhukasana, sometimes called shoelace in Yin yoga. With that said, most students need stability in their hips and strength in their hips rather than to stretch the muscles and ligaments, which can lead to long term instability. When practicing pigeon, keep in mind that each person’s femur heads and sockets are shaped differently and they may not be able to rotate the femur head to that extreme of external rotation to get the shin bone parallel to the front edge of the mat. Forcing that shape is what leads to tearing of the articular cartilage in the hips and knees and possibly surrounding ligaments.
"figure out where to place my front shin to achieve that “perfect” alignment, the instructor had usually moved on to the next pose." should have found a different teacher.And there's no mention of femur rotation in the article and placement of the hip socket in the pelvis, i.e., "yoga is all in the bones." Just because one can do the "perfect" pigeon doesn't mean someone else will. because of their femur rotation + placement of hip socket in pelvis + length of femur neck.
Why is it important to keep the front shin parallel ? Curious as to why that is still a cue in the teaching world
Just tried it as I read the article. Love it! My straight leg isn’t totally rotated internally but I can work on that. The sensation in front hip is different and felt really good. Thank you.
I was so excited to try this, since I have tight hips and subsequently, a tender knee. I didn't feel anything in the outer hip or glute. Oh well, back to Figure 4, or Pigeon w a block under my R thighbone.